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Greek TV licence auction in dispute

Nothing is ever easy in Greece, and a licensing system for private TV broadcasters has created a headache for regulators and would-be broadcasters.

July 4th was the closing date for applications for 4 licences to transmit. The Greek government has removed the authority of the ‘independent’ National Radio & Television Council and a ministerial department (Transport & Communications) under Nikos Pappas is taking control of the licensing process.

This has created objections from the EU in Brussels which has raised objections to the process. The European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Gunther Oettinger, is raising objections to the way Pappas and Minister of Transport and Communications Christos Spirtzis are handling the issue of licenses.

And broadcasters have taken the issue to Court, and are appealing to the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative body, complaining about the legality of the process, saying it is irregular and unconstitutional.

According to Greek Reporter, six applications are known to have been filed (and all come from well-heeled Greek families).

1. Antenna television station owned by the Kyriakou family.
2. Star Channel, owned by the Vardinogiannis family.
3. ALPHA channel owned by entrepreneur Dimitris Kontominas.
4. SKAI TV owned by entrepreneur Yiannis Alafouzos.
5. Alter Ego, a new company owned by Evangelos Marinakis.
6. EPSILON channel, owned by entrepreneur Filippos Vryonis.

Meanwhile, Greece’s lawyers are on strike. The strike, mostly affecting Prosecutors, has been running since January 12th despite being declared illegal and a claimed 300,000 cases in a backlog.

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