Greece’s National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV) called on all media outlets to refrain from discriminatory language and respect diversity after two journalists made homophobic comments about Stefanos Kasselakis, the gay leader of the SYRIZA party.
“Please exercise due supervision so that positions and opinions that are incompatible with the values of equality and inconsistent with the principles of tolerance and acceptance of diversity in a democratic society are not presented or announced through your frequencies,” said the president of the NCRTV, Efterpi Koutzamani-Drilia.
The NCRTV has now launched an investigation into the homophobic comments, and is set to ask the SKAI media group to send material from a radio show hosted by journalist Vassilis Chiotis, as well as a TV show hosted by journalist Giorgos Autias.
Last week, Chiotis made an offensive comment about Kasselakis enlisting in the army in response to the SYRIZA leader announcing that he plans to take a brief break from politics to fulfill his obligatory military service.
Chiotis apologized after receiving backlash online.
“Because I see that some are attacking me for a comment I made, which I admit was reckless, I’m clarifying: I respect the president of SYRIZA, and I had no intention of insulting him. I hate all homophobic comments and those who make them. I committed a foul,” Chiotis posted on X.
Autias similarly made an inappropriate comment about Kasselakis and other male soldiers. In response, the SYRIZA leader called on party members to boycott SKAI TV’s local election night coverage.
“Any journalist in any media of a developed European country who made such comments would have been out the next hour… Let Mr. Autias continue to insult our soldiers, army and intelligence from his home with laughs and insinuations,” declared Kasselakis.
Autias said his comment was not homophobic, and has not apologized for it.
Homosexuality in Greece was decriminalized in 1951. Today, most Greeks say they are accepting of having gay people as neighbors, though the country remains divided on the issue of same-sex marriage. The vast majority of Greek citizens oppose parenting by same-sex couples.
According to the Lesbian and Gay Community of Greece (OLKE), “there is no political, [nor] governmental will to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, and especially gender identification,” in Greece.
In 2020, the Racist Violence Recording Network (RVNR) recorded 30 incidents of verbal assault, physical violence, or sexual assault against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
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