The period we are currently living in Greece, is surely historic. Not so for the unemployment, labor exploitation and so many other things that tend to become a regularity. The historicity of the moment lies mainly in that the erstwhile stars of the media, who had played a very important role in in the political developments of the country, are gradually becoming unmasked.
Big names of the domestic press owe millions to the Greek State, have staff unpaid for over three months and see the sales of their newspapers falling. Some have invented a “tempting” way to pump up the sales of their publications offering along with newspaper coupons for super markets (!)
Some others, unable to come to terms with the journalistic non –existence are frantically looking for a … (journalistic) roof. Reporters who have worked in the first channel of the country, are now in small ones with minimum viewing satisfying their vanity and lost every trace of credibility.
Nobody would have thought five years ago that powerful publishing groups and overpaid journalists with prestige, will reach point zero. However, the slump of the Greek media does not stop here. The remaining media employ workers with humiliating wages and hours that exceed ten hours. Typical is the case of my friend Valia, a 37year old journalist. She was recently asked from a small channel of Athens to work on a daily basis 12 hours and 2 weekends a month with a salary that does not exceed 120 euros (per month).
So apart from the bankruptcy of major television stations and newspapers, there is the phenomenon of full depreciation of journalistic work. My friend of course refused to work for this salary but I am pretty sure they will find someone else, younger, who would accept this position. And maybe in some time a salary of EUR 120 per month, will no longer surprise us…
Another way that employers in the Greek media have adopted, is to pay their employees half wages. Yes, you read right. They pay half the salary and after two or three months they get paid the other half. Of course no one responds because they know that if they stand up and protest, they will be fired. And if this happens, it will be very difficult to find work in journalism in the year 2017.
The point is that even those who endure such humiliating practices, are not actually exercising the profession of journalist. They are working like robots making copy paste the news from other sites.
The journalistic investigation and reports have become, unfortunately, a luxury for the Greek media, which are keen to posts with half-naked women in order to raise as much as possible the views. This is considered a success for the Greek, news websites.
The thinking citizen of this country, do not have a at home, and if they have, they don’t use it. They prefer to be informed by several alternative blogs and posts from social media. So in a so difficult period for the economy and politics, journalism in Greece has discredited than ever. The only hope is the creation of digital media that will meet the needs of the time from young journalists. And because I am in this area for some years, I can say with confidence that there are competent journalists with talent and appetite for reportage and not for self-promotion, propaganda and bargain with bankers.
So is this suffering we go through as greeks an opportunity to change for better the media field in Greece? Definitely yes. We will see if this happens or not.