Democracy is mainly conducted with words, and the battle within it unfolds mainly through words, just as the political battle in most cases is waged for dominance through words.
Everyone, government and opposition, is battling for predominance through words, and those who have it patently have more opportunities either to win or to maintain power.
Because we operate at the same level, and because of late much hostile fire is unjustifiably trained against us, we are obliged to offer a clean and crystal clear explanation.
To Vima, Ta Nea, in.gr, and other websites that comprise the country’s most historic media group, are professionally organised media units, staffed by experienced journalists and prominent external collaborators from academia and the arts.
They carry with them a certain weight and depth. Our very newspapers are part of the country’s political, economic, social, and spiritual evolution.
In various historical periods, they were on the front line. They took a stand. They clashed. They waged political, ideological, and social battles. They were often chased for their ideas and concepts.
Yet, they always were imbued with a certain ethos, a moderate line, and respect for differing opinions. They were open to dialogue and opposing voices, without exclusions, without public ridicule and dishonourable means, and always within the limits of the law, without exception.
During the last years of the great crisis, our media, just as the entire media sector, were tested in many ways by the particular economic and political conditions, and by the intense pressure exerted on the media overall by the technological explosion and the over-development of new mechanisms and tools of information.
Despite all that, and its many trials, our media group endured, was led to absolutely legal, competitive procedures, and came under new ownership, which guaranteed and guarantees its economic status and viability, while at the same time investing in its seriousness, dignity, and independence.
Right now, the newspapers and webpages of our media group are operating freely and without overlords, in line with their tradition, and are under full legal, economic, and tax oversight, without violating even one iota of their obligations.
At the same time, they honour the freedom of the press and the archetypal role of the press, which is none other than checking all authority, while always heeding the rules and principles of journalism, with precision and corroboration of information, and without resorting to the historically condemned and easy propagandistic methods, of populism and yellow journalism.
However, the new ‘rulers’ of the land have other beliefs, and understand the operation of the press differently.
They cannot accept or understand journalistic criticism. For them, every view and opinion is guided. They even want reporting on actual facts to follow their own account.
Their entire stance and behavior is reminiscent of unfree and controlled schemes, which follow the dogma that one is either with them or against them.
Lately, under the weight of their transgressions, with emerging scandals and with the scent of black money hovering in the atmosphere, they are sliding even further into Louis XIV type behaviours, identifying themselves with the state and speaking of enemies of the people, almost like kings and monarchs.
There are constant unsubstantiated charges and smears against the press. The prime minister himself reached the point of referring to a “black front”, in which he included any newspapers or media that do not directly follow the party line.
This is obviously an unfree and deeply undemocratic stance, which cannot be tolerated, because it harms the core of freedom of the press and the fundamental principles of democracy.
In truth, the stance of the Tsipras government is not unique.
In countries such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Turkey, one sees comparable aggressive practices against freedom of the press.
In the US, for example, the Washington Post was forced, due to a dispute with President Donald Trump, to post on its front page the motto “Democracy dies in darkness”.
Our own dispute is similar. We pursue freedom of speech and defend freedom of the press and democracy, upholding religiously the laws of the state and the rules of journalism.
We have nothing to hide, and nothing to fear.
Let everything come to light.
Whoever has anything to say about our newspapers and their ownership should say so directly, without hints and innuendoes.
They will receive a fitting response.
That is all, for now.