Greek journalists attended seminars funded by the International Monetary Fund in order to present its positions favorably, said Greece’s former representative to the IMF Panagiotis Roumeliotis.
Roumeliotis testified on Tuesday in front of the special parliamentary committee on the Greek debt. The former official said that several Greek journalists were “trained” in Washington D.C. in order to support the positions of the IMF and the European Commission in Greek media.
Roumeliotis said that when he was in D.C. he accidentally met with Greek journalists who told him that they were invited to attend seminars on the function of the IMF. He further said that the committee can ask the organization’s Director of Communications Department, Gerry Rice, for a list of journalists’ names who attended the seminars.
Greek Parliament President Zoe Konstantopoulou, who heads the committee, adopted the proposal and appointed a committee member to draft a formal request to the IMF. “In Greece, certain individuals who work for the mass media were contracted to conceal the fact that the Greek debt was not sustainable.”
Konstantopoulou went further and named television journalist Yiannis Pretenteris who, according to Konstantopoulou, has admitted in his book that he attended the IMF seminars.
Roumeliotis claimed that many journalists were victims of misinformation and the omission of the fact that the debt was not sustainable was detrimental to the public interest. He further said that several economists and university professors attempted to convince the public that the debt was sustainable, adding that he puts them in the same category as the journalists.