Come with me today, my dear readers, and let’s go on a ‘journey’ to three interesting current issues:
On Sunday, World Press Freedom Day, the New York Times published a full-page presentation describing the critical role that local media outlets play in informing citizens, and the difficult economic situation in which they find themselves. The Times then asked each of its readers to choose the one media entity that they "trust" – and to support it.
Undoubtedly, "local" media includes the ethnic press – foreign language outlets such as The National Herald and its English edition, which is the only substantial media company that covers the life of the Greeks in America – and now more and more, Hellenism in general. (Have you visited our brand new websites?)
The Press Freedom Index published its country rankings for freedom of the press in 2020, in which the media outlets based in Athens are not doing well at all.
And yet, many Athenian media outlets often praise themselves for the high quality of the journalism they offer. In fact, there are many who consider themselves international models of press freedom and excellence.
I wish it were so, but unfortunately it is not. According to the Press Freedom Index, Greece ranks 65th (!) out of 111 countries. It is in the category of "problematic" countries in terms of press freedom. By comparison, Cyprus ranks 25th (!). Well done Cyprus.
At the top of the list, of course, are the Scandinavian countries, but so is Portugal. Bulgaria comes in last place.
As you can see, freedom of the press and economic development often go hand in hand.
That's why more and more Greeks in Greece are turning to the objective and independent news source, the website of The National Herald (www.ekirikas.com).
The National Herald’s two correspondents in Cyprus have been sending us frequent reports regarding the repatriation of Cypriots from abroad. Another 3,000 have been repatriated so far in May.
But I do not see corresponding news from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs – except for the return of three Greek sailors from Djibouti. Did all those who wanted to leave England, Germany, etc. return?
What's going on?
The now internationally renowned professor, Ioannis Ioannidis, who has influenced – far more than we could have imagined – the debate over whether the "medicine” (shutting down the economy) is worse than the disease (the coronavirus).
Please note, he did not say – as some accuse him – that the coronavirus is not deadly or that it will not cause the death of tens of thousands of Americans.
He said the consequences of the measures taken to shut down the economy were worse than the damage the illness would do to public health, and compared the coronavirus to a bad flu epidemic.
Based on this theory, but also due to the fatigue we are feeling from being locked up in our homes and under the pressure of anxiety over the economic catastrophe that threatens us, one country after another is opening up its economy on the basis of various kinds of assessments.
In the United States, President Trump is pushing for the economy to open up, offering support to protesters who are calling for the economy to open immediately. Several states are already doing this.
So did several European countries, including Italy, which suffered the worst damage.
Greece and Cyprus are doing something similar, but more gradually and more carefully.
Let's hope that we will all be careful and that we will follow the instructions of the authorities in the new phase that we are starting to enter, so that the coronavirus does not return even more menacingly than it did before.