The raid-like closure of the Greek state broadcaster ERT caused a wave of outrage in Athens and surrounding Europe: getting rid of mass media this way should be, democratically speaking, an absolute no-go and is actually unworthy of a developed European state. The topic of this year´s Global Media Forum, ‘The future of growth – Economic Values and the media’ emphasises these issues. Our economic system has little to do with solidarity and social fairness. Instead, it’s all about growth. Or at least that is what media is lead to believe. In fact, our current system rather qualifies as ‘corpocracy’: an economic and political system controlled by corporations or corporate interests.

As DW Director General Erik Bettermannsaid in his keynote speech on Monday, the international community is facing pressing challenges: among them international tensions, rising energy prices and the global financial crisis. The media, however, has a social responsibility to deal with the consequences of these developments.

We see old national stereotypes quickly re-emerging. Interest rates, spreads and the almighty markets dominate everyday life. We have made these abstract figures our gods, giving them human attributes (“the markets reacted in an unsuspected way”). But the markets are merely unkind and juvenile Greek gods, punishing those they do not consider worthy of their power.

If participants took just one message from Noam Chomsky’s speech it was that the old cheques and balances have been disabled and new, less democratic economic values are dominating the current economical Zeitgeist.

By Armand Feka
Photo by Biayna Mahari

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