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Samaras orders immediate shut down of public broadcaster ERT as of midnight, June 11/2013 !!!

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”.

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22 comments

  1. Just goes to show that you don’t have to wear a uniform to be a dictatorship… Proper information is the worst enemy of those who speak from both sides of their mouth.

  2. “Kedikoglou cited chronic corruption and mismanagement, lack of transparency and waste of money as the reasons for the shut down.”

    That’s reason enough and should be done for a whole host of other public and semi-public organisations in Greece… In fact it should have been done years ago.
    By the way: when are the next elections? Because I think ND will miss out on a couple of thousand votes if it were soon.
    On the other hand: I read that ERT will restart with a much smaller team… My question: What is “smaller”? I dare take a bet on it having at least as many employees in 10 years from now. Only difference is that there will only be ND-supporters working.
    The best news of this all?

    Greeks would not have to pay the ERT fees as long as the public TV screens remain blackened

    So, our DEI bills will be lower next time around! Hooray!!!

  3. Comment on an other EU news site:

    Hard to believe that Greece is still classed as a Western democracy and a member of the EU. If this happened in what we think of as developing countries there would be instant international condemnation.

  4. It was common knowledge among ERT employees that something like this was about to happen. Only the duration was supposed to be some days, not 3 months.
    There is no real indication this has anything to do with freedom of speech and information. Previous attempts to reform ERT failed miserably due to harsh opposition from ERT syndicates, so this is possibly the only way to go that would lead someplace…

  5. First right decision that this government has taken, but implemented in such a wrong way!!! For those that don’t know the background, we talk about thousands of employees producing 0 each day. The public TV in greece is the ultimate example of a vote chasing mechanism, in exchange for employment where you can just sit down, do nothing for 8 hours, and get paid well!! absurd!

  6. keeptalkinggreece

    thanks

  7. Samaras reminds you of a dictator? Dictators shut down independent TV and prop up government TV. Samaras is doing the opposite.

    ERT is an entirely biased organization. Their reporting is lazy, their analysis is lazy. Good riddance to this undemocratic group of civil “servants.”

  8. keeptalkinggreece

    in some areas of Greece people get the news only via ERT

  9. Not true. If you don’t know that, you should now.

  10. keeptalkinggreece

    Greek Americans know better

  11. I’ve been responding to points you’re making. You’re not responding to any of my points; you’re just throwing out irrelevant remarks. I don’t have time for this. Good bye.

  12. And for Greek Americans, Greeks in greece should pay 50 euros per month to sustain people who don’t work??

    Btw, In their announcement, they never said that the station is shutdown forever. It will reopen with a new structure. Don’t misinform, people of the facts!

  13. keeptalkinggreece

    LOL I see ERT-closure supporters here. to make things clear a little bit:
    1) ERT fee is not 50E/month – the almost 50E is for 2-months and together (municipality/ERT fees). ERT is some 10E/month i think
    2) who are those in ERT who do not work? the journalists/presenters/technicians & other staff that make 24/7/365-broadcastin possible or those hired to ERT by the government parties and never appear to work place? Why the management (incl the minister in charge) never taken to accountability?
    3) Forever: if you ever lived outside your village, you’d know that there is no country without public broadcast company even for one day – except Greece, of course.

  14. I agree with points 1 and 2. But point 3? Does the USA have a public broadcaster? And a satellite dish can be installed in every village.
    As for “the end of democracy” and more of that nonsense I read in some of the reactions and in the EBU and other foreign reactions… What about the suspension of Marilena Katsimi and Kostas Arvanitis when they criticized Greek public order minister Nikos Dendias?

  15. keeptalkinggreece

    3. you know very well what I mean. satellite dish to watch Turkish series +10000 cooking shows on private TV? ERT (Tv & Radio) has been offering much more than “news”: culture & educational programs, wonderful classical music, even live broadcasts from the church for senior believers just ot mention a few examples.
    4. Antonis, I agree that ERt needed to be reformed and thus it will be done form the same people who created all this miscondition. But the way it was done is totally undemocratic. With one legislative act and the signature of one minister only. tomorrow one minister only can decide to shut down my internet connection or seize my home.

  16. 3. Yes, ERT had this kind of programming too. But should there be 3 channels at once broadcasting 3 different church services? Should there be 19 regional stations? Should there be 3 stations in Thessaloniki alone? And all the commercial stations are also on the satellites. So there is no way Greeks will be deprived of news and a whole host of other interesting programs. Because it’s a characterture you are painting about the private broadcasters. And for radio, I take Melodia every time over ET2…
    4. The way it was done was completely according to the laws of the land. It is a rotten law that allows such sweeping decisions by presidential or administrative decree. But that is beside the point. Parliament had time enough to strike laws like that. But they didn’t. And last time I looked this parliament was still democratically elected. Until now I have not heard about any procedures being started about the illegality of this act. PASOK and DL seem to be writing another law to reverse this on. That’s their right too.
    What is frightening though is apparent total lack of understanding at the highest level of how a coalition functions. You just don’t push through things like this without consensus between the coalition partners. It’s the old I-can-do-what-I-like-cos-I-won-the-elections that is still prevailing. In that ND resembles Erdogan totally. He too is thinking and acting this way. Guess Samaras en Erdogan have more in common then they care to admit…

  17. keeptalkinggreece

    maybe Samaras got jealous of Erdogan’s publicity.
    as for 3. we both know what’s the game here.