High court session on TV licenses reportedly interrupted after justices clash

A closed-door session of the Council of State, which convened on Friday to discuss the controversial and politically sensitive issue of broadcast television licensing, was reportedly suspended after heated disagreements between attending justices.

According to unconfirmed reports, the session ended after an hour, and with several justices assailing court president Nikolaos Sakellariou, who in his opening remarks referred to the gravity of the case.

Reports hold that the chief justice’s reference to the seriousness of the matter was considered, by other justices, as an effort to sway opinion.
In a later statement, Sakellariou said the next session will be announced a day before it is held.

Plaintiffs, including current broadcasters, are challenging the government’s right to issue television licenses and to supervise the sector, pointing to an independent broadcast authority as the constitutionally mandated entity that retains jurisdiction.

At present, however, the board of the watchdog authority remains vacant, as Parliament-represented political parties over the past year and a half have clashed over its membership.

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