Pluralism in Transition: Cultural Implications of the Legalization of Private and Municipal Radio Broadcasting in Greece
Sims, Judy Rene
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The history of radio broadcasting in Greece from its creation in the 1920s through the mid-1980s reveals a medium persistently controlled by the government; private radio stations were prohibited. The purpose of this research was to investigate and document the movement to legally recognize the private and municipal radio stations that developed in Greece between 1987 and 1989. The transition from State controlled radio to legally recognized private and municipal radio in Greece is examined through a review and discussion of: (1) the history of Greek broadcasting from 1920-1987; (2) the history of the establishment of legally recognized private and municipal radio in Greece, (3) the forces operative in the transition; and (4) the meaning of the transition in terms of social change, cultural implications, and the concepts of pluralism, access, and control. This study was based on 40 face-to-face interviews conducted in Greece with spokespersons and opinion-makers from positions of power within the Greek society in 1988. Interviewees included spokespersons and opinion-makers from: (1) the government; (2) the five political parties recognized by the Greek Parliament in 1988, including the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), the New Democracy Party, Diana, the Greek Left, and the Communist Party (KKE); (3) managers and/or directors from the legally recognized private radio and municipal radio stations; (4) editors, publishers, and journalists; (5) lawyers; (6) spokespersons from the Church of Greece; (7) spokespersons from Greek State Radio and Television (ERT S.A.); (8) and university professors. Interview data were supported with secondary sources including, e.g., observations, government documents, photographs, books, and articles from newspapers and journals. Results indicated five distinct forces–external and internal–operative in the transition from State controlled radio to legally recognized private and municipal radio, including, e.g., a dissatisfaction with the State media and a desire for more pluralistic information; the interests of various public interest groups, i.e., pirate radio activists and intellectuals who desired the right to broadcast freely or establish an alternative broadcast media; and various politically related motives. Interviewee data concerning the meaning of the development of private and municipal radio in terms of cultural implications and the concepts of pluralism, access and control resulted in nine distinct categories including, e.g., the breaking of the State monopoly of news; the realization of pluralism; the non-realization of pluralism; changes in the State radio; an emergence of a new style of journalism; and an intensification of cultural imperialism. This research, which focuses on the movement as both evidence and indicator of social change within Greek society, contributes to the literature concerning the history of radio broadcasting in Greece; it also attempts to make sense of the changes through the lens of pluralist theory, theories of bureaucratic dysfunction, and theories of social change.
Radio broadcasting--Greece--Political aspects.
Radio broadcasting--Greece--Social aspects.
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