We bring to the attention of our international viewers the letter of H.E. The Greek Ambassador Aristidis Sandis in reply of the infamous advert by The Spectator magazine:
EMBASSY OF GREECE, LONDON
22 Old Queen Street
7 March 2012
It was with astonishment and frustration that the provocative poster, referring to my country, included in your ad campaign and aiming – as I understand – at promoting your esteemed magazine, came to my attention.
Stating that “Germans Own a Second Property. It’s called Greece” is extremely inaccurate and offensive to Greece and the Greek people. It should be crystal clear to you and any objective reader, that such an unfortunate – to say the least – advertisement would be insulting not only to Greece, but to any proud and sovereign nation.
During the past three years, the Greek sovereign debt crisis has received world wide attention. Greece has committed to the toughest austerity program in modern history, with cuts deeper and faster than any country has undergone in living memory. Hefty tax hikes, pension and wage cuts have reduced the primary budget deficit from 24, 7 bn euros to 5, 2 bn in just two years, although this huge effort did unquestionably have a dramatic impact on the life of every Greek. Today, with the help of our European partners, we are focusing on structural reforms, in order to create a modern and productive new Greece, within the European family. That’s why, I believe, Greece and it’s people deserve everybody’s respect for their efforts and sacrifices.
Whatever the concept behind your extremely vague and controversial advertisement might be, only one thing is certain: Using such a deliberately provocative phrase that literally distorts reality, certainly attracts people’s attention. At the same time however, it constitutes a vulgar violation of all the press ethical rules, that all media should hold dear at all times, provided of course that they respect their readers.
It is therefore in the name of ethical, accurate and responsible journalism, that I call upon you to immediately withdraw this offensive poster, which in any case does not do you any merit.
I am certain that you will agree with me that it is high time to end this brutal and unjust beating up of a country, which has been trying extremely hard and is arguably achieving considerable results.
Aristidis Sandis – Ambassador