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UPD Heavy blow for Greece’s Gov’t: Council of State rules TV licenses law “unconstitutional”

Greece’s Council of State (CoS), the highest administrative court in the country, on Wednesday evening ruled that a controversial television broadcast licensing law eagerly backed by the leftist government is unconstitutional.

A majority of CoS justices, 14 to 11, said that the controversial law, which transferred jurisdiction from an independent regulatory body to the ministry of state, violated the constitution – given that a constitutional article stipulates that the “watchdog” authority oversees the broadcast sector in the country.

“The current Tsipras government has invested a massive amount of “political capital” in pushing through the law and subsequently holding an electronic auction for four national television broadcast licenses, awarded to the highest bidder in a nearly three-day closed-door process,” notes

This is certainly a heavy political blow to the left-wing government as it cancels the Pappas-Law – named after the state minister for media – that was aiming to overhaul the country’s “corrupt private broadcasting landscape”.

The CoS decision practically cancels the TV licenses bid and the state would most likely have to return the down-payment -some 30% of a total €240million- to the four winners.

Media note that what is certain is a) two of the winners who had no broadcasting company previous to the bid will not be able to broadcast and b) the rest of the private TV stations whose owners did not win a licenses will not have to close down. they will continue broadcasting without a license until a new constitutional law is approved.

SYRIZA-close daily Avgi commented on its website right after the CoS decision:  “Return to the state of illegality”

Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili announced short before midnight that the government will submit a new law in upcoming Monday. Unconfirmed reports claim that the government will issue “licenses for temporary TV broadcasting operation” for the four bid winners.

Using a sharp tone against the CoS, the spokeswoman said among others:

The CoE -with marginal majority – took a decision that temporarily prevents the settlement of 27 years of unaccountable television landscape.

This is the same court that:
ruled as constitutional the bailout agreements which tore Greece apart,
ruled as constitutional the “black” [closure over night] of [state broadcaster]  ERT
ruled as constitutional the PSI that thrashed the social security funds.

The rulings of Justice are binding.
But this does not mean that its decisions are not judged.

She added that the return of the down-payment, some 80 million euros – will have serious consequences such as “15,000 children will out from kindergartens, it hinders the hiring of 4,000 personnel in public hospitals.”

Some opposition parties want the resignation of the minister in charge of the TV license law, Nikos Pappas.

In a statement New Democracy said that Tsipras’ “departure from power and early elections are today more than ever imperative.”

Among others it added “right from the beginning ND defended the constitutional
order and fought to prevent a government coup d’ etat in the media landscape.”

The main problem for the establishment of an independent regulatory body is that main opposition party New Democracy raises objections – obviously for political reasons.

PS so it was ND that influenced the independent justice? 😛

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  1. Dear Olga
    Please don’t try to sell us your fake philanthropy. We all know that the only thing which would have happened with these 80 million would have been more payments to your Troika friends’ bottomless pit via the so called “debt repayments”.

  2. “This is the same court that:
    ruled as constitutional the bailout agreements which tore Greece apart,”

    The SYRIZA government has A LOT of nerve complaining about that one in particular, when they themselves agreed to and are currently implementing a third bailout agreement in spite of the fact that they explicitly promised NOT to do so! If I recall correctly (and please do correct me if I’m wrong) Tsipras himself declared right before the election that “the memorandum is dead to me”.
    And before anyone comes to me with the “they were blackmailed, they had no other choice” excuse, there was an emergency plan (Plan B if you like), as Varoufakis never tires of telling anyone who wants to hear. Tsipras, for reasons passing understanding, refused to apply it.

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      It’s just classical counter-insurgency you can find in CIA-manuals since the sixties, and you can find Varoufakis about the criminal role Stournaras played in this (also translated into German) – just like his recipe b to save capitalism.

    • Dear EastBerliner, there is a simple explanation of why Alex refused to accept Plan B: he had been bought already and he acted according to the wishes of his masters. The entire farce after the January 2015 election had already been choreographed in Berlin and the starring actors already been hired. Poor Varoufakis, Lafazanis, Zoe and others were simply taken for a ride.

      • Iannis – that’s one out of quite a few theories that I’ve heard about why these things happened the way they did. We may never know the actual truth about it, and honestly I’m not even sure it matters that much. My solidarity is, and always will be, with the Greek people. Not Syriza. It’s just that I find Syriza’s hypocrisy infuriating!