Greece's left-led government auctions off four nationwide TV licenses despite vehement protests by broadcasters who see an attempt to control media in the crisis-hit country. Hayley Platt reports.
This is one of 8 privately owned TV channels in Greece. But a controversial new sale by the government will see the TV licences of 4 of them auctioned off. Leaving media chiefs fuming. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MEGA CHANNEL NEWS DIRECTOR MANOLIS KAPSIS SAYING: "The so called fight of this government against media tycoons is a left-wing alibi for the populist government of Mr. Tsipras which has proven unable to fulfil its economic promises." Greece has been selling off state assets to raise funds to pay down its mountain of debt. But broadcasters think this is a step too far. They see it as a thinly-disguised attempt to gain control of the country's media. Prime Minister Tsipras's left-wing government says the powerful relationship between the media and big business isn't healthy. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) ALPHA TELEVISION CEO DIMITRIOS FOURLEMADIS SAYING: "I hope there won't be any shocks for those people that make their daily bread from this business, that's why I hope the channels which exist today will get a license." Bidding has been set at three million euros - increasing by increments of 500,000 euros. Most of the country's existing channels are expected to take part. Plus four new companies including Dimera Media Investments, owned by a Russian-born Greek shipowner. And Alter Ego, also owned by a Greek shipping magnate. Unsuccessful broadcasters will have 90 days before they're taken off air.