In Depth

Grexit referendum: how Greek papers want their readers to vote

Greece's notoriously partisan press is divided over whether Greeks should vote Yes or No in Sunday's referendum

By Sophia Ignatidou

While the world waits to see what will happen after Greece went into arrears on its IMF loans, the country's main newspapers are awash with headlines predicting an imminent doomsday.

Most mainstream media outlets in Greece have close ties to political parties or business magnates, so their coverage is often viewed with a healthy degree of scepticism. And as the country edges ever closer to its referendum on whether to accept the latest EU bailout proposals, newspapers aligned with the Syriza government have unsurprisingly come out supporting the No campaign, while those affiliated with the opposition are campaigning for a Yes vote, or calling for the whole referendum process to be scrapped.

The argument for Yes

On the morning of 1 July, the Ta Nea newspaper warned of "fears of deposit haircuts" and To Ethnos declared Greece to be "a country under siege" after its IMF default. To Vima urged Tsipras to scrap the referendum if he and his government wished to retain "the little dignity they have left".

Kathimerini on the other hand, sees the referendum as Tsipras's "escape plan" after he has become stuck in a political and economic impasse, commenting that "his escape via a referendum has proved detrimental for the country. Internal governmental inefficiencies should not lead Greek people to a great disaster."

No more compromises

The Syriza-affiliated Avgi newspaper supported Tsipras's argument, calling a No vote "the catalyst for a new deal". The paper's main editorial appealed to all voters who felt disenfranchised by the previous governments, suggesting "the referendum is the way through which the people take an active role in the negotiations, regardless of whether they choose Yes or No." It even praised the referendum as a negotiating tool: "the debt is officially on the table and its restructuring is what will get Greece out of the tunnel of the memorandums."

Independent newspaper Efsyn published a poll conducted by the ProRata institute giving a lead to the pro-No vote and warned that "terrified people can become unpredictable" in an editorial championing a "No without delusions"

The Communist party's Rizospastis newspaper took things one step further by calling for "people to turn their back to the blackmail and the terrorising dilemmas posed by the referendum". The paper urged people to vote No both to the proposal from the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF, and also to the Syriza plan.

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