An organised propaganda campaign is being waged in various publications, TV shows and social media against the functioning of the Council of State, which has been criticised by the the IMF over its ‘adverse court rulings’ that represent ‘downside risks’ for the country’s austerity programme
The Council of State The head of the country’s supreme administrative court has claimed that an organised campaign is being waged by the media against his institution and that this “propaganda” could have implications for the independence of the body.
In a communiqué issued to judges and other officials on July 2, the Council of State’s president, Sotiris A Rizos, refers to the existence of a “campaign of publications, TV shows and social media” targeting the institution.
“The propaganda is being exercised in an organised manner and could potentially harm the freedom of judgment of the judiciary and, eventually, cause irreparable harm to the judicial work of the court,” he added.
This would serve to reduce the willingness of judges to offer legal protection to citizens, the communiqué continued, which was published on the court’s website (pdf).
Rizos said that the propaganda campaign against the court, which determines whether government laws and decisions are compatible with the constitution, has resulted from recent decisions that reversed a number of wage cuts imposed as part of troika-mandated austerity. These decisions restored the pay of judges, military, police and other uniformed state employees to 2012 levels.
These decisions were described in a recent report by the IMF, one of the bodies making up the troika, as “adverse court rulings” that represented “downside risks” for the country’s austerity programme.
Independent investigative journalist Apostolis Fotiadis, who blogged about the communiqué on July 10, said that no major news organisation has dealt with the judge’s letter. “Is there a country that a warning from the president of the highest court against an organised attempt by mass media to distort the normal function of the judiciary would pass unnoticed?” he asked.