12 Jun

Only during landing and take-off

Placed on Friday, 12 June 2015 by Publistat



'A triangle of sin', that is what Alexis Tsipras, the now prime-minister of the country, then opposition leader, described the interests and influence network between Greek government, business and media. In 2009, on the eve of the crisis, there were 13 listed media companies, 39 day and 23 weekend newspapers, 14 weeklies, 10 nationally broadcast TV stations and hundreds of radio stations, all for a population totaling about 11 million. Far too much of course, and many media companies were kept alive artificially, partly though generous loans, by owners who were simultaneously active in other sectors of the Greek economy, wielding their media exposure primarily for reasons of political and economic influence.
The financial crisis has forced many newspapers and television stations to shut down, including traditional newspapers such as the leftist Eleftherotypia or conservative Apogevmatini. Alter, a TV-station now only broadcasts a test pattern. More than 4,000 journalists have already lost their jobs since the crisis began.

It is quite a hectic day for Yiannis: he is about to launch his new concept, Covve, a smart online network tool, www.covve.com. Four guys, with two screens each are hammering on their keyboards. 'We tested the beta version since June, but from today on it is for real.' It's not his first company: he is a serial entrepreneur. And he is not your everyday Greek - maybe because he's a Cypriote: I don't think many of them read the Financial Times, the BBC, sometimes Bloomberg and Reuters. 'All online, and every morning: it is part of my daily ritual.'

You never read paper?
'I do. The Economist. I always read it in the plane, during take-off and landing, when I'm not allowed to use my iPad.'

What about the Greek media, how are they handling the talks with the Euro-group?
'It depends on what color you read: the side of the previous government will be accusing the actual government of giving in too much - which is true, they are not sticking to what they promised during the elections.'

You clearly didn't vote for them.
'I'm a Cypriote, remember?'

Mark SchalekampWriter and journalist Mark Schalekamp travels the EU for his project Youropeans. In every city he interviews a doctor, barber, an immigrant, a prostitute, local celebrity, police officer, businessman and an artist. And he shares his view on the media landscape for Publistat.