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Little booth with a Greek flag on the beach. (Photo: REUTERS/ Alexandros Avramidis)
Image: Reuters/A. Avramidis

How the world reports on Greece

Carla Bleiker
July 5, 2015

From a South African seafood restaurant in Athens to China as Greece's savior: international media outlets have chosen various angles to keep their readers up-to-date about developments in the debt-stricken country.


The Greek debt crisis is coming to a head with Sunday's referendum, in which Greeks voted on whether to accept their creditors' bailout proposal. It's all European media outlets have talked, or written, about for days: What will the result mean for the European Union? What will happen to the euro? Audiences in Europe have been inundated with information - but what about the rest of the world? DW took a look around and found some examples of how the Greece issue is covered on continents that don't share a currency with the debt-ridden country.

The United States

Serious mainstream media like the "New York Times" have provided detailed information to their readers every step along the way. But there are also more unusual looks on the Greek crisis that toy with the stereotype of the uninformed American that has no clue about what is going on in the international politics world.

The online issue of "New York Magazine" published a second edition of its tongue-in-cheek "The Absolute Moron's Guide to the Greek Debt Crisis." It's an update of a Q&A that was originally published in 2012.

Uncle Sam poster. (Picture: http://en.wikipedia.org)
New York Magazine wants YOU, Americans, to get informed about the Greek debt crisisImage: gemeinfrei

In the 2015 version, author Margaret Hartmann recounts the events that led to the debt crisis and the difficult economic situation Greeks are currently facing. She does so in simple language, prompted by an imaginary reader asking questions like "I thought the Greeks were total badasses. Why is their economy tanking?"

The "Moron's Guide" gives a comprehensive overview of the situation in that small, faraway European nation.

South Africa

Fin24, an online business and finance news site, went another way. One of their strategies is to focus on tangible examples to keep things relatable for their readers. Aside from reporting that South Africa's currency, the rand, has taken a hit in the Greek debt crisis as well, Fin24 also ran a story about a Greek branch of a popular South African seafood restaurant.

An "Ocean Basket" eatery was recently launched in Athens, and CEO Grace Harding told Fin24 that the mood in the restaurant in the Greek capital has been "numb" lately. According to Harding, the "Ocean Basket" group is committed to its Athens staff despite financial difficulties. "There are always going to be bumpy rides," Harding said. "You cannot expect everything to be smooth all of the time, and we'll be there not just in the good times, but in the bad times too."

The South African seafood restaurant has experiences with European monetary drama. In 2012 and 2013, another "Ocean Basket" branch made it through the Cypriot financial crisis.


The second-largest country in South America has made it through its own financial crisis in 2001 and is still struggling after defaulting on some of its debt in 2014. This shared experience with Greece is what the media there is focusing on these days.

Former Argentine Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna is known as the architect from Argentina's recovery after the country's lowest point in 2001. In an interview with news agency "Associated Press," he said that a "strong restructuring" of Greece's national debt was the only way out of the crisis and the sole possibility to avoid further conflict in the EU.

Roberto Lavagna. (Photo: JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/GettyImages)
Roberto Lavagna dug Argentina out of its hole in the early 2000sImage: JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/GettyImages

The online issue of the "Buenos Aires Herald" doesn't see such a clear solution to Greece's problems. Author Pan Pylas compared the choices in the referendum between more austerity cuts or a potential "Grexit" to one of the adventures legendary Odysseus braved in ancient myths.

"The Greek people are in similar dire straits [as] Odysseus, [who] at one point had to steer his ship and crew down a narrow stretch of water menaced on opposite sides by two sea monsters, Scylla and Charybdis," Pylas wrote. "Odysseus got through his ordeal, but Scylla the monster ate six of his men - not a great thought for Greeks seeking to navigate the straits of bankruptcy and national pride."


Chinadaily.com uses a boat metaphor for Greece's current predicament as well, but the online news source doesn't go as far back as the Greek legends. An anti-"Grexit" piece by Chen Jia is topped by a caricature. In it, China's president Xi Jinping is handing wooden boards to characters like EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras - who are trying to fix the sinking rowboat they're sitting in.

In the piece, Jia cites numerous Chines officials emphasizing that the country wants to see Greece stay in the Eurozone. "China will continue to play a constructive role in this regard," a spokesperson of China's foreign ministry said to China Daily.


Peter Martin, writing for the "Sydney Morning Herald," does not seem to think that Australia should play a constructive role in saving Greece. "If Greece vanished today, the world economy would contract 0.3 per cent, once," he stated. "Economically, the loss would scarcely be noticed."

Other media down under don't propagate this "couldn't care less" attitude. The online issue of the "Australian Business Review" reports on the plunge that Australian shares have taken as the Greek crisis has deepened. And the online issue of Melbourne daily "Herald Sun" reported a story about the city's growing population of Greek-Australians trying to transfer their assets from Greece to Australia.

Melbourne. (Photo: Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
Melbourne: the city with the most Greeks in the world outside of Greece itselfImage: M. Dadswell/Getty Images

Melbourne, Mark Dunn and Caroline Schelle write, is the largest expatriate community outside of Greece. Since the Greek crisis began, 10,000 Greeks have migrated or moved back to Australia, Australian Greek Welfare Society president George Spiliotis told the "Herald Sun," adding that there are currently roughly 360,000 Greeks living on the smallest continent.

These days, all of them likely worry about their home country's future.

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