The rejection by parliament on Tuesday of the Eurogroup’s demands for a one-off levy on depositors in order to secure a 10 bln euro bailout for Cyprus was driven mainly by the usual dose of hysteria by ignorant politicians and to some extent by an irresponsible media.
From the moment that the “unexpected” bail-in plan was made official at dawn on Saturday, until the final vote in parliament, TV stations and news sites have been bombarding us with unsubstantiated news “revelations” and immature comments.
The few analysts who had reasonable arguments to support or reject the bail-in plan on depositors, were quickly replaced by radical thinkers that simply added to the hype of the days, added with a touch of carnival frenzy and a spice of Green Monday.
The most ridiculous incident occurred when a journalist, upset by the rapping on the knuckles he had just received from a Disy MP, walked off the set, as against some politicians or panelists being upset with their inquisitors and leaving the studio.
Such childish antics are indicative of the immaturity of our media community, while allowing populist guests to blurt out extremities regardless of the impact on the naïve public also shows that some newscasters are incapable of controlling tempers on a show.
This is not the way we would have wanted to mark the 20th anniversary of this newspaper, while the developments of recent days have also cast serious doubts about the survival of the “serious press” in a market where haste and populism have replaced mature thinking and healthy debates.
The media industry – print, broadcast and electronic – has steadfastly defended the right to self-regulation in order to encourage freedom of speech and free thinking. But judging form the way that journalists often resort to amateur tactics simply to win over public opinion, regardless if what they are doing is in the public interest, perhaps we should think about following the path of the U.K. media industry that has reluctantly accepted the Leveson Report that arose from the tabloid scandals and abuse of privacy.
If the banking sector will undergo a major overhaul over the next few years, maybe we should consider overhauling the media, legal and finance sectors as well.
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