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25 July, 2016

A short introduction to the structure of the Greek oligarchy

They are industrialists, shipping line owners, landowners and bankers. In Greece, a handful of leading families have ruled over Greece’s economy and politics for decades. And their offspring are only too often the leading shareholders in the privately-owned media.

Taken from the Media oligarchs go shopping report by Reporters Without Borders

Key points:

  • Greece has been controlled for the past five decades by a handful of families – from five to 20 families, depending on your source. They are industrialists (petroleum and construction), shipping line owners, landowners and bankers. And only too often they are also the main shareholders of the country’s media.

  • In an interview for Jean Quatremer’s documentary “Greece, the day after,” Greek investigative journalist Nikolas Leontopoulos explained the workings of this incestuous system [...] “We talk of the triangle of sin (...) but it is more of a square,” he said. “The first side is the entrepreneurial elite, the second is the banks, the third is the media and the fourth is the world of politics. Those who have the entrepreneurial power are the owners of the leading media and are shareholders in the banks and at the same time maintain incestuous relations with the politicians." [...] “For a long time, this system was regarded as a motor of growth and prosperity,

  • In January 2005, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis’ conservative government tried to have a law adopted that would have limited conflicts of interests between the leading industrial sectors and the media. It would have banned the owner of a company bidding for public contracts from owning a media outlet, either directly or via a family member (as is often the case). All of the Greek media campaigned against the proposed law, which ended up being rejected – not by the Greek parliament but by Brussels. After furious lobbying of European Union institutions by the oligarchs, the European Commission said the law constituted an obstacle to entrepreneurial freedom. Why?

  • In the run-up to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece was an El Dorado for European construction companies, which enlisted the local savoir-faire of Greek oligarchs to get a share of the juicy Olympic projects [...] Ten years later, amid an economic crisis caused in large part by the insane spending on the Olympics, the Greek oligarchs used their media outlets to try to block Tsipras’ rise to power.

  • ... media also waged a united campaign against the “no” vote sought by Tsipras in the July 2015 referendum in order to defy Europe. They failed in both cases. This may have been because Greek voters had ceased to trust their news media, knowing them to be subservient to the oligarchy’s interests, and had sought information elsewhere, on blogs, social networks and the websites of grass-roots groups.

The creditors, the banking-media dictatorship in Greece and the local oligarchs did everything they could, even before SYRIZA take the power, to put barriers in the new coalition government, to close all the roads and force it either to fall, or, to fully obey on their demands.


Since the eruption of the crisis in 2010, the mainstream media, totally dependent on bank money in a closed system of corruption, especially in Greece, begun the war propaganda against the "bad" public sector of Greece to hide the enormous responsibilities of the banks. The public opinion was brainwashed to believe that this was a Greek public debt problem and that Greece outside the euro-currency would be led to absolute chaos. The reality is that the big banks sacrificed the country to save themselves, despite their enormous responsibilities.


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