An omnibus bill that included sections on a national pension for ethnic Greeks from Albania and the former Soviet Union, forested fields and a contentious amendment on the supervision of the press was passed in Parliament on Wednesday, shortly after midnight, with the sole support of ruling New Democracy lawmakers.
All the opposition parties opposed the bill in principle, particularly the articles concerning the press. The specific amendment would give the National Council for Radio and Television (ESR), the country’s independent TV and radio regulator, powers to impose fines on newspapers for slanderous or offensive reports. The fines will be paid by shareholders and not the company that publishes the paper.
Main opposition party SYRIZA has blasted the specific amendment saying it is “a direct violation of articles 14 and 15 of the constitution, as well as the law on corporations,” as the ESR is only responsible for TV and radio channels because they use public bandwidths. All the opposition parties voted against, apart from the Movement for Change (KINAL), which abstained.
At the same time, all parties approved the bill on a national pension for ethnic Greeks from Albania and the former Soviet Union, apart from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) which abstained, noting that it required improvements.
Article 80 on forested fields was opposed by main opposition SYRIZA and MeRA25 while KINAL, KKE and Elliniki Lysi abstained.
The bill on the responsibility of the press, which gives the National Council for Radio and Television the power to impose fines on press owners for slanderous or offensive reports, was passed with the support of ruling party MPs, while all the opposition parties voted against apart from KINAL, which abstained.