I am speechless. This did not happen also during the Greek military dictatorship. A information coup d’ etat. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras ordered the immediate shut down public broadcast company ERT even without the consent of his coalition government partners PASOK and Democratic Left. Watching government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou announcing the shut down of ERT as of June 12th 2013 and the immediate lay off of several thousands employees I could not but be reminded of some authoritarian dictators in Hollywood films.
Kedikoglou cited chronic corruption and mismanagement, lack of transparency and waste of money as the reasons for the shut down.
And this while some ERT employees were hired because they, their fathers or I-don’t-know-who were members of Samaras’ Nea Dimocratia – among others.
Kedikoglou announced that there will be no broadcast as of midnight 11th June 2013. “The procedure for the reconstruction of the semi-state broadcaster should start immediately,” he said adding that Greeks would not have to pay the ERT fees as long as the public TV screens remain blackened. He could not say, when the Greeks will be able again to watch public television.
The troubled citizens of this incredible country will have to get the news through the television and radio programs of the private companies.
The anger of 2,656 ERT-employees is as expected indescribable. They had to learn this noon, that they will be jobless as of tomorrow.
The moment they heard the news on Tuesday, they occupied the building and apparently will keep broadcasting on 24-hour basis. Using the technical facilities of ERT, they keep reporting about this unprecedented case of information coup d’ etat and their demands.
Journalists unions declared a strike for all private TV and radio stations to go on effect today. Outraged unionists proposed a total media blackout.
Hundreds of people – mostly unionists – have been flocking to ERT premises in Agia Paraskevi to protest Samaras’ decision.
ERT provides with information, news, films, religious broadcasts and educational programs the most remote village of Greece.
Kedikoglou’s statement here.
PS With this decision and the way it is implemented, I think, Greece leads worldwide in category “crazy decisions”.