Greece - Media

The government owns and controls all communications. The Greek Telecommunications Authority operates domestic telegraph and telephone communications; in 1997 there were 5.4 million main line telephones and 937,700 mobile cellular phones. Radio Athens broadcasts are carried by provincial relay stations located in various parts of the country; other stations are operated by the Greek armed forces and by the Hellenic National Radio and Television Institute. As of 1999 there were 29 AM and 17 FM radio stations, and 64 television stations. In 2000 there were 478 radios and 488 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 71 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 27 Internet service providers serving about 1.33 million people.

Before the 1967 coup, most newspapers represented political views, and success in politics often depended to a considerable extent on newspaper support. This tradition made the newspapers particularly vulnerable to accusations of violating the junta's security regulations. Some newspapers voluntarily shut down, and others were ordered to suspend publication. The collapse of the military regime in 1974 led to constitutional restoration of freedom of the press. Many banned newspapers reappeared and circulations steadily increased. In 2002, there were over 150 daily papers throughout the country. The largest Athens dailies (with estimated 2002 circulation rates) are To Vima (250,000), Eleftheros Typos (167,186) Ta Nea (135,000), Ethnos (84,700), Apogevmatini (72,900), and Avriani (51,300).

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and with a few exceptions the government is said to respect these rights. On matters involving the politically sensitive subject of the recognition of certain ethnic minorities, it is reported that the government is restrictive. The constitution also allows for seizure of publications that insult the President, offend religious beliefs, contain obscene articles, advocate violent overthrow of the political system, or disclose military and defense information. However, such action is very rare.

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