Thursday, 6 October 2016

Alpha TV boss says Syriza tried to buy him out

Dimitris Kontominas, owner of Alpha TV station, appeared on his network's flagship morning show to reveal that Syriza offered to buy him out through a middleman. "Their man," he says, suggesting the disgraced TV license bidder Yiannis Kalogritsas, apparently told him, "you'll give me 51 percent" of the network. Kontominas continues: "I said, 'what else do you want?' He says, "'I want four political shows a week.' And I said, 'do you want anything else?' He said, 'I also want to control the political part of the news bulletin.'" Kontominas says he dismissed the middleman with the words, "The network's not for sale to third parties." Kontominas was not successful in his bid for one of four national television licenses, despite the fact that he bid 61mn euros, more than Skai television, which secured a license for 43mn euros. The spilling of this little exchange is further evidence that Syriza's policy of changing the television licensing regime is backfiring badly. Recent polls have suggested that few Greeks believe the new licensing law was aimed at instilling ethical principle or bringing network-owning oligarchs to heel.

In a separate development today, defence minister Panos Kammenos attempted to deny that Kalogritsas was the government's man. In an interview with the state news agency ANA, Kammenos, who is also the leader of Independent Greeks party, said Kalogritsas attempted to broker a broader coalition between his party, ANEL, and the alliance of conservative New Democracy and socialist Pasok, before Syriza came to power in January 2015.

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