Greeks are great devourers of newsprint – although few would propose the Greek mass media as a paradigm of objective journalism. Papers are almost uniformly sensational, while state-run TV and radio are often biased in favour of whichever party happens to be in government. Foreign news is widely available, though, in the form of locally printed newspaper editions and TV news channels.
Newspapers and magazines
British newspapers are widely available in resorts and the larger towns at a cost of €2–3 for dailies, or €4–5 for Sunday editions. Many, including the Guardian, Times, Mail and Mirror, have slimmed-down editions printed in Greece which are available the same day; others are likely to be a day old. In bigger newsagents you’ll also be able to find USA Today, Time and Newsweek as well as the International Herald Tribune, which has the bonus of including an abridged English edition of the same day’s Kathimerini, a respected Greek daily, thus allowing you to keep up with Greek news too. From time to time you’ll also find various English-language magazines aimed at visitors to Greece, though none seems to survive for long.
The main local English-language newspaper, available in most resorts, is the Athens News (weekly every Friday, online at athensnews.gr; €2.50), in colour with good features and Balkan news, plus entertainment and arts listings.
Greece’s airwaves are cluttered with local and regional stations, many of which have plenty of music, often traditional. In popular areas many of them have regular news bulletins and tourist information in English. The mountainous nature of much of the country, though, means that any sort of radio reception is tricky: if you’re driving around you’ll find that you constantly have to retune. The two state-run networks are ER1 (a mix of news, talk and pop music) and ER2 (pop music).
The BBC World Service no longer broadcasts to Europe on short wave, though Voice of America can be picked up in places. Both of these and dozens of others are of course available as internet broadcasts, however, or via satellite TV channels.
Greece’s state-funded TV stations, ET1, NET and ET3, nowadays lag behind private channels – Mega, Star, Alpha, Alter and Skai – in the ratings, though not necessarily in quality of offerings. Most foreign films and serials are broadcast in their original language, with Greek subtitles; there’s almost always a choice of English-language movies from about 9pm onwards, although the closer you get to the end of the movie, the more adverts you’ll encounter. Although hotels and rooms places frequently have TVs in the room, reception is often dire: even where they advertise satellite, the only English-language channels this usually includes are CNN and BBC World.