Broadcasting and politics in Greece, 1936-1987.
The purpose of this thesis is to analyse and explain the
organization of Greek broadcasting, and particularly its
relationship to the state and politics. The study begins with
the introduction of state-owned radio in 1936 and ends with the
abolition of the state monopoly and the introduction of private
local radio by a Socialist government in 1987.
Through a mainly chronological structure the study examines
the development of Greek radio and television set against major
developments in the sphere of politics from the inter-war
period until the late 1980s. These developments include the
establishment of a quasi-fascist dictatorship in 1936, the
Right-Left cleavage of the 1940s and the nature of
parliamentary regime which was established as a result of the
Communist defeat in the civil war (1946-1949). Subsequently,
the study deals with the imposition of the dictatorial regime
in 1967 and examines the contradictions which led to its
eventual downfall in 1974. Finally, the thesis covers the
transition of the country to democracy, the nature of the
democratic regime, the party system and the major aspects of
policy of both the Conservative governments (1974-1981) and the
Placed within the framework of the debate about the role of
broadcasting in liberal democracies, the thesis examines the
applicability of two antithetical models, the 'fourth estate'
and the 'dominance' models to the Greek broadcasting system
from 1936 to 1987. Neither is found to be satisfactory. Our
study of government-broadcasting relations since the introduction
of radio demonstrates that the broadcast media have
always been subordinate to partisan political control and that
neither the editorial autonomy nor the political independence
of Greek broadcasters, on which the 'fourth estate' model is
based, have ever been safeguarded by Greek politicians.
The 'dominance' model, on the other hand, to the extent that
it considers the mass media as an instrument of the dominant
classes fails to describe accurately the role of Greek broadcasting
institutions and of the state which controls them
within Greek society. Due to the uneven and belated industrial
development of the country, the state has acquired a dominant
position in social and economic life by distributing resources
and safeguarding the vital Interests of various social groups.
Political parties have always relied on the mechanisms of the
state to consolidate their power. Broadcasting institutions
have therefore been used by those holding executive power as a
legitimating mechanism of their policies. Preoccupied as they
were with the political output of radio and television, Greek
politicians never pursued the development of a public service
ethos In Greek broadcasting.