Publication Date: July 2016
Research and Editorial Team: Lia-Paschalia Spyridou

Published by Open Democracy in the framework of the "Anti-Austerity and Media Activism " series, the article highlights the skewed media coverage of the Greek financial crisis and austerity policy, with focus on the bailout referendum of July 2015.

On that occasion, mainstream media in Greece openly advocated a ‘yes’ position in favour of accepting the bailout conditions proposed by the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank together with the harsh austerity measures this proposal entailed. Despite many mainstream media campaigns and international political pressure in favour of the ‘yes’ position, 61% of Greek voters supported the ‘no’ position.

Massive complaints about the media’s ‘yes’ campaign led to an investigation by the Disciplinary Board of the Journalists’ Union of Athens. About a year later, the Board announced the results of its investigation. Nine journalists were found to have violated the journalistic code of ethics and practice. The Board decided to expel three journalists for one year and to reprimand the other six. 

However, as the author argues, the issue is more structural, as "[mainstream] media in Greece have systematically been used as tools of political influence in exchange for favouritism in the form of state advertising, bidding for state contracts and preservation of privileges, such as tax breaks for shipping. It comes as no surprise therefore that the austerity dogma and the 'there is no alternative' discourse was overtly supported and legitimised by mainstream media". 

Tags: Greece Freedom of expression Media freedom Political pressure Ethics of journalism

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