Eleftherotypia news daily in turmoil

Eleftherotypia news daily wasn't on the stands today, but unlike how it would happen in the US, Greek media -not to mention readers- reaction was minimal.

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Imagine what would happen if a leading national US newspaper, say the New York Times, or the Washington Post postponed its circulation for a day. News frenzy aside, it would be an unprecedented event.

In Greece, things are somewhat different. Not that an event like that is not the talk of the town, it's just not exactly the first time a Greek newspaper has missed its daily circulation. So when Eleftherotypia news daily wasn't on the stands today media -not to mention readers- reaction was minimal.

The background, on the other hand, is far more interesting. Eleftherotypia is one of the oldest news outlets in the country. It came out in 1975, one year after the fall of the military dictatorship and has been associated with the center-left political milieu ever since. They got in financial trouble in late 2011, suspended circulation for more than a year, came back and started struggling again.

Censorship accusations usually come from journalists and directed to publishers, not the other way around. But Greece is nothing if not a country of contradictions

Newspaper circulation plunge, combined with the recession has brought many media outlets to their feet and Eleftherotypia is no exception. Journalists have not been payed for almost a year and the newspaper management considers its future in “touch and go” territory.

Under these circumstances, the following, unrelated debacle takes a whole new meaning. It all started with the management's intention to publish a magazine with a report on the 1967 junta and its surrounding circumstances in the paper's Sunday edition. Among the related interviews, the magazine had one with former Greek king Constantine, who was very young when the military took power.

Eleftherotypia staff protested the decision “for ideological reasons”, backed by the Journalists' Union. The publisher accused his editors and the Union for attempted censorship, the disagreement came to extremes and as a result, the paper missed its Tuesday circulation.

Censorship accusations usually come from journalists and directed to publishers, not the other way around. But Greece is nothing if not a country of contradictions. In this particular case, the Union and the journalists' position is far from the rules of objective investigative journalism.

Then again, the journalists reaction underlying cause is obviously related to their lost patience over unpaid wages. Which should not be the reason behind censoring a legitimate interview to begin with, but in this country, a debate about objectivity in general, in many ways could be considered a luxury.

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