conflict & communication online, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2002
ISSN 1618-0747




Margarita Kondopoulou (Leicester)
The Greek media and the Kosovo crisis

The NATO air attacks (24/3/99-10/6/99) as an instrument of force against Serbia to terminate the abuse of the Albanian population in Kosovo, albeit supported by a significant part of the international community, were received much differently in Greece. Key to the climate of strong disagreement with the campaign was the role of the Greek media. The true reason behind the offensive was, according to them, the change in the geopolitical map to the advantage of the West, and in particular the USA. The underlying argument of this paper is that in the Kosovo crisis the media, Greek (and international), projected their own environment. It is particularly apt to examine the Greek case because of its very unique perspective that differentiated the coverage in Greece - a NATO member country - from the overall world media view. Also, the discussion is pertinent because Greek media coverage disagreed with the official government position, which although advocating a diplomatic resolution of the crisis, had to support the Alliance's decision to bomb Serbia. Furthermore, study of this case is significant because the clash of the Greek media view with the mainstream pro-NATO coverage found in many other countries generated negative views on Greece and its media on the international level. An examination of media content reveals that despite any differences concerning political or other factors, and regardless of the variations in the phrasing of the anti-NATO arguments, the overall media perspective exhibited a unanimous opposition to the bombing campaign. By placing the emphasis more or less on the same thematic areas as the world media, but by crucially reversing the line of reasoning (e.g. the refugee problem was blamed on the NATO bombing raids and not on Serbian atrocities), the Greek media invariably remained anti-war, anti-NATO and anti-Albanian in many particular cases, and in principle pro-Serb throughout. A study of the general media and the specific journalistic approach found in the Greek coverage shows that antipathy toward the NATO "humanitarian" rationale, and to a manifest extent the Kosovo-Albanian factor, and empathy with the Serbs originated from a variety of historical, cultural, social and geopolitical factors. It also supports the view that these characteristics were consistent with a recurring pattern of distinctive nationalism that generally pervades media discourse and journalistic practice.


  full text in English  

On the author:Margarita Kondopoulou has worked as a journalist for several years for Greek radio stations and magazines. She has a BA in English Literature from the American College of Greece (Deree) and an MA in Mass Communications from the Centre for Mass Communication Research (CMCR)/University of Leicester, UK. Currently she is an associate tutor in the MA by Distance Learning course at the Centre for Mass Communication Research (CMCR)/University of Leicester, UK, and working on her PhD thesis on the comparative analysis of the Greek and British press coverage of the Kosovo crisis. She has published several articles on this topic.

Address: Distance Learning Office, Centre for Mass Communication Research, University of Leicester, PO Box 6359, Leicester, LE1 7YZ, UK.