01 November, 2005
The government on Monday referred directly to what it called written consent by the European Commission over its proposed modifications to the controversial "primary shareholder" law, which served as a pre-election pledge to prevent would-be state contractors from holding controlling interests in broadcast media.
"The government is proceeding with its strategic plan via steady steps, as the next phases will include the issue of media concentration and (broadcast) licensing," government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said.
He also stressed that continuous deliberations with the Commission -- which initially expressed its reservations with a law passed by the previous PASOK government as well as with later legislation by the current government -- generated a positive result, saying negotiations found "common ground" between the Union's acquis communautaire and Greek national law.
Furthermore, he reiterated that the law's intent is to prevent the "exercise of unfair influences" by the owner(s) of a broadcast media outlet in order to assist "other business transactions with the state". Roussopoulos nevertheless dismissed a question asking whether a well-known publisher and media owner (a controlling interest in the local channel "Mega"), George Bobolos, was targeted by the specific law.
"The government does not come into conflict with specific individuals; the duty of the state is to create the institutions that assist in the observance of the constitution," he reminded.
Finally, he said the government will begin an immediate dialogue with interested parties and other political parties over the law in order to resolve whatever problems as soon as possible.
In an unrelated question, Roussopoulos said the government stood by its decision to draft and subsequently table legislation for upgrading large public sector utilities and enterprises in the country -- many of whom dominate their specific sector.
The spokesman said the process is continuing.
Source: Athens News Agency