PASOK questions legality of TV license auction, warns of layoffs

PASOK, Greece’s once-dominant socialist party, on Friday questioned the legitimacy of a government auction for four private nationwide TV licenses while warning of layoffs in the country’s crisis-hit media sector.

“The arbitrary number of four licenses will lead to an oligopoly in the media,” PASOK said adding that the controversial procedure had raised “serious issues of transparency, legality and credibility.”

The results were announced early Friday after TV executives were kept in isolation at a government building for more than two days during the sequential bidding. Skai TV and Antenna TV won two of the four permits, the others going to two newcomers – including a company linked to Vangelis Marinakis, a prominent ship owner and chairman of Greek soccer champion Olympiakos.

The government has said that existing operators that failed to secure a license, among them Star channel and Alpha TV, will have 90 days before going off air.

“Thousands of workers are at risk of dismissal which exposes the hypocrisy and apathy of the government,” the party said.

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