July 9, 2007


Vienna, 09/07/2007


Karolos Papoulias
President of Greece

Karolos Papoulias
President of Greece
Vassileos Georgiou II 2
10028 Athens

Fax: +30 210 7232342

Your Excellency,

Based on information provided to the International Press Institute (IPI) and its affiliate, the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), the proposed media law titled, “Concentration and Licensing of Media Enterprises and other Provisions” was passed by the Greek parliament on 5 July. The law now has to be signed into force by Your Excellency.

In the opinion of both our organisations, the media law contains a number of provisions regarding language, employment and finances that hinder potential local and regional media from obtaining licenses for news and music radio stations. The result is a law that is designed solely to maintain the present restrictive media environment and further shrink any opportunity for the expression of minority points of view.

IPI and SEEMO are also dismayed that rather than reflecting on this proposed law, the government has chosen to extend parliamentary sessions into July to ensure its immediate passage through parliament. According to our view, the law is flawed and it will impede the growth of media that reflect all elements of Greek society.

With this in mind, IPI and SEEMO call on Your Excellency to withhold your signature, and to encourage the government to consider the impact of this law over the summer. By doing so, we are hopeful that wiser authorities will prevail in the debate over the type of the media that Greece wants for the future.

IPI and SEEMO would also respectfully remind Your Excellency that through its EU membership and adherence to other international standards, the Greek government has an obligation to create a diverse and pluralistic media environment.

Were the law to be passed in its present form these commitments would be severely jeopardised and the government would be seen to be upholding the status quo. If this were to happen, it would be a sad day for all Greek media.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Johann P. Fritz
IPI Director

Oliver Vujovic

SEEMO Secretary-General