By Mary Sinanidis.
“Ah, the Fourth Estate,” says Greek Consul General of Melbourne Emmanuel Kakavelakis, whenever he encounters Greek Australian journalists.
For the third year running, Mr Kakavelakis held an event to honour Melbourne-based media groups four days after the feast day of St Minas, known as the patron saint of journalists.
The Greek Herald, Australia’s only daily print diasporic publication and the oldest surviving newspaper in Melbourne newsagencies since 1926, could not be missing. Also present were journalists from the multitude of the city’s radio and media groups.
President of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM), Bill Papastergiadis, joked on the day that the Community will soon open its own fimes.gr news site.
Humour aside, Mr Papastergiadis said Greek Australian media was robust despite local papers having suffered a blow due to the rise of social media.
“You [the media] take credit for this because you are doing it largely from a position of love. You are not doing it for financial gain as you are encountering significant difficulties in your current environment,” he said.
Mr Kakavelakis thanked the groups present, stating “you treat us more politely than you should” while adding, “it is important not to mince words but also not to ‘gauge each other’s eyes out’.”
Despite community media playing a unifying role, Mr Kakavelakis pointed to the importance of objectivity.
“Our local media doesn’t suffer from provincialism, an illness that harms many other diasporic outlets,” he said.
Later, he told The Greek Herald how much he reads and appreciates the professionalism of the newspaper and its leadership’s efforts to offer jobs and promote quality journalism.
Mr Kakavelakis also touched upon the streamlining of the consulate’s operations, stating that Greek Vice Consul Georgia Botsiou is leaving her post to return to Thessaloniki with no plans to replace her. Ms Botsiou told The Greek Herald that she has nothing but pleasant memories from her eight years in Melbourne and time in New South Wales but she was eager to return to Thessaloniki to be with her son.
Andrea Demetriou, a keynote speaker of the evening, highlighted the artworks of her sister, the late Christella Demetriou, who lived in Melbourne following their family’s migration to the city as refugees from occupied Cyprus. Christella, an artistic polyglot, excelled as a painter, composer, bouzouki instrumentalist, poet and athlete. Her works are currently on display at the Greek Consulate of Melbourne.
Mr Kakavelakis said he encountered Christella’s artworks at an event by Demokritos and they “spoke to him” and he hoped the display of the works at the Greek Consulate would speak to others also.
*All photos copyright The Greek Herald / Mary Sinanidis.