Five journalists’ homes were bombed by a group calling themselves Lovers of Lawlessness over the weekend. The LOL denounced the coverage of the Greek financial crisis releasing a statement that the media is “the main managers of the oppressing state designs, manipulating society accordingly.”
While Reporters without Borders rightly condemned the bombings, they should also condemn the fact that the Greek media is not independent being mostly owned by business and political leaders with the purpose of controlling the flow of information to the Greek public.
The Reuters article above gives several examples of media corruption including Greek media companies obtaining exemptions from taxes that an austerity-weary public had no choice but to pay. Additionally, Greek journalists are heavily conflicted as many of them hold down additional positions as press officers for government agencies and businesses.
A cable from the U.S. embassy in Greece released by Wikileaks detailed the corruption claiming that many media outlets are operated at a loss so that rich owners can give their business and political interests favorable coverage.
The NYT article treats the bombings, other incidents of intimidation and the story of journalist Kostas Vaxevanis similarly, but the last is of a different stripe. Mr. Vaxevanis is the editor of a Greek news magazine, and he was prosecuted for publishing the infamous Lagarde list. The government, not a fringe political group, was attempting to intimidate Vaxevanis who was acting in the people’s interest by fulfilling their right to know. On the other hand, the journalists bombed all have connections to corrupt media outlets or the government itself.
Attacking these media outlet serves as a proxy for attacking the government and the business interests who support own control them.
The conditions are ripe for a Greek civil war. There is widespread corruption in Greek society, starving people and a youth unemployment rate of close to 60%. History has taught us that large groups of young men with no prospects tend to destabilize society through violence. Each day brings news of suicides, protests, riots and now bombings.
The Greek government needs to take steps to quell this burgeoning uprising before it is too late. Unfortunately, it seems to have neither the legitimacy nor the power to avert catastrophe.
The headline above is a bit vague. The Greek Prime Minister’s office in his party’s headquarters was attacked. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.