‘Bad kebab’ TV jibe bites back
OECD data shows Greeks work the longest hours in Europe
The BBC has come under fire after one of its most senior journalists described on live TV the Greek economy as a 'bad kebab' which may best be 'vomited out' by the rest of the eurozone.
Jeremy Paxman, who presents the BBC's flagship nightly news analysis program Newsnight, was criticised by his guest, former Greek finance minister George Papakonstantinou and on Twitter after making the comments, which were branded 'offensive' and 'disrespectful' to Greece and its people.
Mr Paxman, known for his combative interviewing style, was describing Greece's political and financial problems when he used the 'bad kebab' analogy.
"So the rest of the eurozone now contemplates something we were being told wasn't conceivable recently, that, like a bad kebab, Greece is vomited out of the single European currency," Mr Paxman said.
The former Greek finance minister responded by saying: "I take issue with your 'bad kebab' analogy, which I find offensive," he said.
"The Greek economy is in a crisis and the Greek people are going through a lot and they deserve some respect. I really did not find that very appropriate."
In a recent poll, residents of eight continental European nations were asked to name the hardest working country: seven said Germany. The exception was Greece, whose citizens claim they are Europe's hardest workers.
But Hellenic perceptions of being a responsible workforce may be more in tune with reality than international commentators suggest.
Recent data from the OECD shows Greeks work the longest hours in Europe - an average of 2,017 hours a year, compared to 1,647 in the UK and 1,408 in Germany. Though whether productivity equates to the numbers of hours worked, particularly in an economy held back by corruption, is another matter.
Reflecting on the latest derogatory comments from the world media in relation to Greece, Vrasidas Karalis, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney told Neos Kosmos:
"Mass media work with gross and misleading generalisations and this infuriates people because they know that those who suffer at the moment are the 'Greeks' and not Mr Papakonstandinou, or indeed the journalists who talk about them.
"It was also pointed out that corruption is the main reason for diminished productivity in Greece; what the presenter should have done is to have asked Mr Papakonstandinou what he did as a minister to fight or indeed identify corruption," said Professor Karalis.
"We cannot victimise the victims over and over again - we must offer hope and a strategy for a way out."
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