09 October, 2003
Greece is no longer a small, marginal force but is seen as a modern, European country, Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas said on Wednesday as he presented a report on Greece's image in the foreign press during its European Union presidency.
The report was commissioned by the general secretary for communications, Dimitris Gerou.
Protopapas said that the prejudice and skepticism with which the foreign media had formerly treated issues pertaining to Greek society had largely disappeared, while noting that the country's ''visibility'' would become steadily more apparent as the 2004 Olympics in Athens approached.
He said that foreign news coverage of Greece, particularly that concerning preparations for the Olympics, would henceforth be systematically monitored, recorded and analyzed by the same applied communications team at Athens University that prepared the report.
The press minister also noted that a positive image for the country depended on delicate and balanced handling of Greece's foreign and communications policy and called for intense efforts to upgrade the country overall.
The report was based on articles about Greece appearing in 32 foreign newspapers with proven influence on the international reading public in 19 countries that, apart from the United States and Russia, were either EU member-states or countries due to join the EU.
The report analyzed 2,848 articles appeared between January 1, 2003 and June 30, 2003, of which 1,037 were exclusively about Greece while the rest referred to matters of Greek interest.
Of the articles exclusively on Greece, about 58 per cent were judged to be positive, 26 per cent neutral and 16.5 per cent negative. Most positive comments were focused on the Greek EU presidency, Greek diplomacy and Greek society, neutral articles were mainly about Greek society, the Greek EU presidency and EU-Greece relations, while the majority of negative comments centered on Greek society, the Olympic Games and sports.
Presenting the conclusions of the report, analysts said that Greece's ''visibility'' appeared to have improved, Greece's EU presidency had been positively received and the country's efforts to ''Europeanize'' had been lauded, though reservations regarding modern Greece continued to exist.
By contrast, the stance toward traditional Greece was positive, the stance toward the Athens Olympics was marked by ambivalence and anti-Americanism continued to occupy the US papers in particular.
Source: Athens News Agency