With the deregulation of the broadcasting system and the appearance of private channels, Greek broadcasting underwent enormous changes in the late 80's. From two state owned TV channels and four state owned radio stations, nowadays 158 private TV channels and 1,200 private radio stations operate.
Currently, state television (ERT S.A.) has three television channels (ET1, NET, ET3) and broadcasts worldwide via satellite. The state radio network comprises five radio stations in Greece and one that broadcasts internationally.
By the mid 90's there were about 246 local, regional and national daily newspapers in Greece. In Attica alone, there are at least 19 television channels, including the subscription channels and two digital providers (NOVA, Alpha Digital). More than 1,050 magazines and 32 newspapers are published in Athens, while the number of radio stations broadcasting in the area is now approaching 100. The highest 10 nationally circulated dailies (Ta Nea, Eleftherotipia, Ethnos, Kathimerini, Eleftheros Tipos, Apogevmatini, Espresso, To Vima, Adesmeftos Tipos, Traffic) are located in Athens.
Digital satellite television is the great change for the traditional field of Mass Media in Greece. The adoption of law 2644/98 for satellite and terrestrial services has opened up the way for the development of satellite and terrestrial digital television.
In the last few years, the Greek Government has taken important initiatives in the field of audiovisual legislative policy. These initiatives reflect the need to regulate new radio and television services, safeguard fundamental principles, such as the protection of minors and human dignity and reinforce the role and powers of the National Radio and Television Council (ESR), which was established as an independent authority. The ESR is in charge of renewing or withdrawing broadcasting licences, guaranteeing economic transparency, pluralism and quality of radio and television services and imposing administrative sanctions in the broadcasters who are deemed not to have respected their obligations.
There have been efforts by the State to regulate the sector according to the needs of the industry and to harmonise the operating conditions of the sector according to the European Union’s regulations with regard to advertising time, programme quotas, the protection of minors and the issue of media ownership.