The new media regislation passed in the Greek Parliament late on Thursday night with 154 votes of the ruling coalition parties – SYRIZA and Independent Greeks (ANEL) – and the vote of independent deputy Nikos Nikolopoulos. Of the opposition, main opposition New Democracy, Democratic Coalition, Potami and Centrists Union voted against, with 102 votes in total. Fourteen deputies of the Golden Dawn and the Communist Party of Greece stated “present”, as did independent deputy Stathis Panagoulis. Another 30 deputies were absent.
In his address preceding the vote, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that discussions over a bill on broadcast licensing shows who really wants to put the country’s broadcasting landscape in order and who is trying to block the government from moving ahead with its commitments.
“This will give Greek people the opportunity to draw their own conclusions,” he said, adding that “we’ve been listening for years to the phrase ‘vested interests’, but now it’s time to explain the term and how to deal with it.”
The government has announced it will launch and oversee a tender for four nationwide TV licenses, drawing criticism from the opposition which objects to the number saying they are too few and several other aspects of the procedure.
Tsipras slammed the opposition parties, saying they covered up the impunity of the unlicensed media for 27 years, and which are trying to do so now too. He also said that voters gave the government a clear mandate to clash with the vested interests, the status quo and corruption.
“Now, for all those who were living like parasites and sucking all the power of Greek society, it’s time to give their explanations and go through the cash register to pay their taxes; along with those who have send their untaxed money abroad,” he said, noting that in three parliamentary sessions, New Democracy said it doesn’t want a tender for broadcasting licenses. “It is a kind of institutional aberration, because not consenting short circuits institutions.”