(Greece) – Gunther Oettinger, the EU Digital Economy and Society Commissioner, said that the EU has investigated Greece for its process of awarding a certain number of TV licenses to the highest bidder. His goal was to determine if there was foul play or not. Ultimately, he said that the matter of the TV licensing tender is something for the government of Greece to decide.
Oettinger said in a statement that, “The question whether licenses should be four, five, six or 10, for public or private television stations, is an affair of national states per se and the free decision-making process of parliament.” This statement was in response to a reporter who asked him whether or not he thought that the TV licensing process was a threat to the issue of media freedom. He said that if that were the case, the EU would certainly intervene.
On June 16, 2016, the European Commission did send a letter of formal notice to Greece because they withdrew frequencies from DIGEA, the digital signal provider in Europe. Although Greece had two months to respond to this, they have yet to give a good answer. This is another issue under investigation concerning the Greek TV landscape.
Greece’s current SYRIZA government has said for a while that one of their goals is to eliminate corruption in the media since it directly relates to corruption in politics. The move to award four TV licenses has been controversial, but the government feels it is necessary to get the corruption under control. The government recently awarded the four licenses. However, one of the top stations that was awarded a license has recently withdrawn after he was unable to receive more more time to pay the amount due to the government. Many of the stations that didn’t receive a license will likely need to close.