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Greek gov’t first anti-coronavirus measure: 2 million euros for media

Right after the health authorities announced the record breaking jump of daily coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the Greek Govrnment rushed to take the first and urgent measure to contain the spread of the virus: 2 million euros for the media.

I’m kind of kidding here. Fact is that with a joint ministerial decision published in the official gazette on Tuesday, when a high score of 1,259 daily cases was announced, the government decided give 2 million euros to Television stations to broadcast warning spots for the coronavirus.

As the spots serve the common, social good, they are supposed to be broadcast free of charge.

The 2 million euros are reportedly to be distributed among the 6 private TV stations Mega, Open, ANT1, ΣΚΑΪ, STAR and ALPHA that broadcast nationwide. Criterion for the money distribution will be the viewership rates in order to avoid niggling, news website news247 reports.

The generous ‘funding’ to private media companies comes as students crowd in class-rooms, commuters are like packed sardines in public transport means, and the country’s hospitals are under immense pressure due to shortage of ICU beds and personnel.

Opposition parties launched sharp criticism for the new funding.

During the first lockdown in spring the Greek government spend 20 million euros for “Stay at Homes” spots that were given to media, including websites that had only one post or radios that were no longer in operation. At the same time, media critical to government were excluded from the “funding”.

Opposition parties bombarded the government accusing it of “sense of transparency” and after intense pressure, government spokesman Stelios Petsas gave a list of media that received the sums.

The scandal left the Greek borders, and even the International Press Institute called on the Greek gov’t to ensure fair and transparency on media support.

The list included non-existent media that had received funding. Then, after widespread furor, a new list with the sums allocated was given to publicity. It was discovered that opposition media had received less than 1% of the sum in total. Others were outright excluded.

The spots funding was more than welcome as the commercials and advertising market almost collapsed last spring.
However, next to the “Stay At Home” spots, media, newspapers, websites etc praised the government about its successful handling of the pandemic, applauded any decisions in this direction and for several months Greeks were flooded with articles and reports about “How young the PM looks despite dealing with the crisis”, or how incredibly chick his wife is.
When the  “litany” of the PM couple reached levels of ridiculousness such posts disappeared – or the money was simply used. Really? Wrong!
The Greek government keeps feeding the media it funded in difficult times. Today, Thursday, the websites of two mainstream newspapers that mistakenly posted also the government’s instructions on how to deal with SYRIZA criticism – “Tsipras’ attacks” [sic!] against the country’s top epidemiologist.

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  1. WTF. Are they doing!Everybody knows that ,the young people don,t watch television, the old don,t care. Spend the money,for people who needs it. Everybody know about mask, keeping distances and so on.It,s a disaster!

  2. If everybody already knows the rules, WHY don’t they follow them???
    But, agree that kind of money could be spent on better purposes.

  3. Maybe they can run the ads on social media as well. Or strategically time them for popular programs: GNTM, Agries Melisses, etc. As Mika says, if everyone knows the rules…. And every day you report that the numbers go up.

    We are suffering, all of us, from Covid fatigue: fatigue at staying in, fatigue of hearing about Covid, fatigue of following the rules, fatigue of not having our freedoms. This has gone on much longer than anyone thought possible. Yet there are nations that have come out of it because their population has been more obedient. Yes, the money could go elsewhere, but how many people is 2million euros REALLY going to reach?

    • nobody expects gov’t will hand out money to people. they could hire medical staff for the ICU beds not in operation due to staff shortage.