Greek TV takes programme off-air over mention of Macedonian

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Apr 8 16:07:50 UTC 2005

Greek TV takes programme off-air over mention of Macedonian
Davyth Hicks, Bruxelles/ Brussel 3/25/2005

In a press release the Greek Member State Committee (MSC) of the European
Bureau for Less Used Languages (EBLUL) has said that it is deeply
concerned about an incident that took place at Greek State Television
(ERT) on Sunday.  The Greek MSC was informed that NET, the second channel
of ERT, indefinitely postponed the broadcast last Sunday (20.3.2005) of
the programme Travelling in Greece, which featured the Florina region of
western Macedonia.

According to the presenter of the show, the official justification for
this decision was that in the edited (ready-to-air) version some
inhabitants of villages in the region said on camera that their mother
tongue was Macedonian, a language which has been banned by the Greek state
for decades.

The Greek MSC statement says that "ERT directors must have thought that
such public statements could support the claims for the existence of a
linguistic minority that Greece does not officially recognize, and decided
to ban the broadcast." Adding that, "it is a flagrant abuse of the EU
principles of respect to diversity and multiculturalism."

The Greek MSC adds that it "wishes to condemn such acts in the most
categorical way. Especially when they come from an E.U. member state that
only a few months ago hosted the Olympic Games under the motto Celebrating
cultures, celebrating diversity. Not only that but the above incident
happened during the European Week Against Racism. Yet again, Greece
chooses not to respect the basic right of its own citizens to freely
express their opinion and continues the policy of extremely limited, and
absolutely selective, presentation of cultural and linguistic diversity in
state-owned media." (Eurolang 2005)

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