Media legislation

The primary authority responsible for the media regulation is the Ministry of Digital Policy, Media and Telecommunications, newly formed in 2016. The new ministry aims to stand for or to highlight the transition from the recessionary period of the country to the times of growth. It aims to give priority to the coordination and unification of digital and telecommunications policy, to make Greece a trade and telecommunications hub, as well as to coordinate the public policies and regulations on the Hellenic communications universe in the age of convergence and digitalization.

According to the Law 1092/1938 the press is entitled to a series of privileges, namely discounts on telephone and postal tariffs, and at the same time it is liable to a set of obligations, such as the respect of the personality and privacy of individuals and the respect for truth. Due the financial crisis these privileges were diminished or abolished. In cases of publications of untrue or wrong facts, there is an obligation to publish a correction. The press has to respect varying opinions and it is responsible for the forming of public opinion as well as the publication of news in a manner that does not cause unnecessary panic to the public.

Laws 1730/1987 and 1866/1989 paved the way for the deregulation of the Greek broadcasting universe, allowing for the operation of the first local radio and television stations respectively. Moreover, Law 1866/1989 established the basic principles for the set-up and the action for the NCRTV.

Law 2328/1995, the so-called “Venizelos Law”, after the minister responsible for the media at the time, was the first serious attempt to regulate the commercial broadcasting market and stipulates that the NCRTV grants licenses for commercial TV and radio stations. The commercial stations are obliged to provide programmes of high quality, objective information and news reports and promote cultural development. Additionally, under the Law 2328/1995 there are limits regarding the concentration in media ownership. In print media it is provided that a natural  or legal person and his/her relatives up to the fourth degree may be holders of or participate in only: 1) a maximum of two daily political newspapers (a morning and an afternoon one) issued in Athens, Piraeus or Thessaloniki, 2) one daily financial newspaper and one daily sports newspaper issued in Athens, Piraeus or Thessaloniki, 3) two non-daily provincial newspapers issued in different regions and 4) one Sunday publication. Law 3414/2005 sets the antimonopoly public policy in the field of media companies, in application of Article 14 par. 9 of the Greek Constitution. According to Article 12, the market share of media companies is supervised by NCRTV. Nevertheless, the “Law for the basic shareholder” (Law 3592/2007) has failed to eliminate concerns about transparency, pluralism and competitiveness in the media landscape.

Law 2644/1998 regulates the provision of pay-radio and TV services through analogue or digital means, either terrestrially or via cable or satellite. For terrestrial transmission there is a competitive licensing procedure, due to the scarcity of frequencies. This law also foresees that these TV channels which have applied for an official TV license, either national, local or regional, are considered as legal until the commencing of the proper licensing procedures.

Law 4324/2015 re-establishes the Hellenic Broadcasting Company (ERT) as Greece’s public broadcaster. In effect the law orders the reinstatement of all employees of the ERT which was closed in June 2013 and its entire staff (over 2,500 employees) were dismissed. The Law not only reopens ERT before its sudden closure, but it also re-hires all the employees it had in that day. These measures have been presented by the new Government as necessary steps to rectify the "injustices" of recent years.

Law 4339/2015, the so-called “Pappas Law” after the responsible Minister, reforms the television licensing process, and establishes a public digital broadcaster to compete with the privately held monopoly Digea, the terrestrial platform operator. With the addition of Law 4367/2016 the minister responsible for the media  has the competence to coordinate and execute the national TV license procedure and award the 4 TV licenses to the highest bidder (this, however, was disputed by the Higher Court, see above).