ATHENS – Mega channel, one of Greece’s major private networks, is dropping out of the face to get government licenses in a new auction after the country’s highest administrative court struck down awards granted by the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA last year.
Six media companies submitted applications to the National Broadcasting Council (ESR) in Athens for the licenses: SKAI, Star, Alpha, ANT1 and Epsilon and from a firm called Tileoptiki Elliniki.
There was no explanation from Mega why it didn’t apply although the decision set off a televised protest by workers there.
The previous license awards, which critics said were a bid by SYRIZA to stifle dissent and reward supporters, ruled that the ESR must oversee such a competition, not then Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas, who then sent Parliament a bill to have ESR take the lead. SYRIZA had granted only four licenses.
The Council of State ruling on the tender to award nationwide television licences also formally “condemned” the law “of failed ‘TV Czar’ minister [Nikos] Pappas and the government’s totalitarian plans, which included full control of the mass media,” main opposition New Democracy said in January.
The court said Pappas violated the Constitution by taking on the power to do it when he bypassed the National Broadcasting Council (ESR).