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Greek Government Shuts Down ERT The Public Radio and Television Broadcaster
12 June 2013
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Update 14/06/2013

EBU Press Conference in Athens

On Friday, the 14th of June, the President of the European Union Broadcasters, Jean-Paul Philippot  and EBU Director General, Ingrid Deltenre, gave a press conference in the building of ERT, expressing once more their support and solidarity to the employees.  

Jean-Paul Philippot stated that solidarity is a key factor of success and success means freedom of expression, pluralism and the future of culture. “Every democracy needs a public broadcaster”.  

The EBU president repeated that ERT is a funding member of EBU since the beginning of the institution. He added that the Union desires to support ERT in order for it to become a strong EBU member and a body qualified with independence, pluralism, transparency and sustainability in management, skills and finance.

Moreover Mr. Philippot explained that he speaks on behalf of thousands of broadcaster employees and announced a meeting with the Minister of Finance (the new legal owner of the ERT), Mr Stournaras, later in the day. He said, they΄ll give the Minister a letter, asking the government to recall its decision, re-establish ERT signal and finally to assist in the building of a new national broadcaster. 

The EBU president΄s speech was followed by questions from reporters from all over the world.

Council of Europe: Statement of the Secretary General on the closure of the Greek public broadcaster ERT

“I encourage the Greek government to accept the European Broadcasting Union’s offer of advice and assistance necessary to ensure ERT becomes a true public broadcaster corresponding to Council of Europe standards for public service media.

I recall the importance of public broadcasting for ensuring media pluralism and diversity of views within a democratic society. I am concerned about the abrupt manner in which the Greek public broadcaster has been shut down.

I acknowledge the need to remedy the shortcomings of ERT, but this can, and should be achieved without a discontinuation of public broadcasting in Greece, even if it is only a temporary one."

"The arbitrary abolition of ERT, implemented by the same people, who tried for years to devalue it, consists an unprecedented challenge, which should not be left unanswered.

No pretext, invoked by the moral and physical perpetrators, can justify such a violent action that insults the whole Greek nation as the national public broadcaster should be people΄ s cultural shelter.

The tempter carreerists and the selfish politicians who only care about their position, can΄t hide themselves behind the so called consolidation of ERT, in order to conceal their treasonable attitude, in the name of the private broadcasters΄ owners and their political interests. 

Our standpoint is clear.
No consolidation is possible as long as our national public TV and Radio broadcaster is closed."

Greek Film Directors΄ and Producers΄ Guild (ESPEK)


The Greek government has shut down the public broadcaster ERT. 2.656 employees lost their job!

On Tuesday, at 23:15 pm the government – despite its partners PASOK and DIMAR objections, and after having passed a legislative act, which allows Ministers to shut down enterprises without the Parliament΄s consent - has shut down Greece΄s state broadcaster ERT (all channels and radio stations).  Despite the employees` attempts, the police forces intervened and terminated ERT΄s transmission.

ERT was the only public boadcaster in Greece. Moreover ERT was the only channel, which respected the law, obligating broadcasters to invest 1.5% of their annual gross income in domestic film production (Law 3905/2010 article 8). Right now professionals working on many feature and short films, as well as documentaries -in all production stages- find themselves in a state of uncertainty.

The government΄s press representative, Simos Kedikoglou, justified the decision, claiming that ERT operated in a corrupted way. Furthermore he announced government΄s intention to create a more streamlined service in three months. Mr. Kedikoglou added that all employees would be paid compensation and would be able to apply for a job in the new broadcasting service.

Thousands of people held a protest against the decision outside ERT headquarters and didn΄t leave despite the police΄s threats of arresting them. Journalists΄ unions have called a 24-hour strike across Greece΄s broadcasters, while unions have called a general strike on Thursday.
Government partners PASOK and DIMAR issued announcements criticizing the Prime Minister΄s sudden decision. Even the Greek President, Karolos Papoulias, expressed his objection after his meeting with the Leftwing opposition leader (SYRIZA) Alexis Tsipras.

The European Broadcasting Union, the body which represents all public service broadcasters in Europe, expressed dismay at the decision to close ERT, a founding member of the EBU since 1950. The EBU is on standby to step in and try and help ERT fully reopen. 

The institution was indeed inherently problematic  in many respects, yet there was no legal basis for its closure. The consolidation could have been done with ERT on air. Greece is now the only European country with no public broadcaster.

Parties Official Reactions
SYRIZA: “It΄s a coup. A coup against ERT employees as well as the greek people, who pays the public broadcaster and it has a right to objective and pluralistic information”.

Former Independent Greeks (ANEL) press representative Terrence Quick commented that “what PASOK was unable to achieve with Ilias Mosialos, the tripartite government managed: the destruction of Public Radio and Television under the pretext of streamlining”.

The Communist Party (KKE):“the government is initiating the abolition and merging of public bodies and institution with terrible consequences for the people. KKE expresses its solidarity to all the employees in all the public institutions and ERT employees and calls them to rise up and coordinate their struggle”.

  The Greek Film Center won΄t shut down
  Statement of the Secretary General on the closure of the Greek public broadcaster ERT
  Council of Europe Website
  Supporters of Greek Public Broadcaster Call for Euro-Wide Protests by Hollywood Reporter
  European Documentary Network about ERT
  EBU about the shutdown
  Greek Cinema Law
  ERT Archives
  Le Monde About ERT
  Le Figaro about ERT
  El Pais about ERT
  ERT Twitter
  ERT Facebook Page
  ERT Site
  CNN about the shut down of ERT
  Hurriyet about the shut down of ERT
  New York Times about the shut down of ERT
  Guardian about the shut down of ERT
  BBC about the shut down of ERT
  altcine Explore movies by Country People To read
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