(Greece) – The bidding process that will eventually grant television licenses to four private stations began on Tuesday in Greece. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has always said that the amount of corruption present in television has been alarming, and that this move to reduce the amount of licenses given out should have been done a while ago. The number of licenses the Greek government will award is down to four from seven. In fact, Tsipras and his government have overhauled the entire system in an effort to eliminate corruption. The issue is that Greece has had a history of corrupt arrangements between television networks and public figures, such as politiians.
Nikos Pappas, a state minister who is overseeing the process has said that, “In order to safeguard the interest of the state, the flow of information between the bidders must be cut. What is paramount is that the rules of the bidding process are clear and that the state receives the maximum amount (of money).”
Television executives participating in the bidding were escorted into a private room. The eight finalists are instructed not to speak with media or their competitors until after the process is over. The bidding started at 3 million euros and the amounts will increase by increments of 500,000 euros until four winners are selected.
However, there are those who oppose this move, particularly conservatives who believe that this is just a way for Tsipras to exert his own control over the media. The opposition, the New Democracy Party, has said that, “The restriction of broadcast licenses … will distort competition and does not ensure that the public will be informed objectively objective information to citizens. Concentrating power in the news media, restricting pluralism and the range of opinion is essentially taking aim at democracy itself.”
The bidding will continue until the four licenses have been successfully awarded.