Dirty political games with ERT and justice

Posted by in Politics

Another crucial meeting between prime minister Antonis Samaras and his coalition government partners Evangelos Venizelos (PASOK) and Fotis Kouvelis (Democratic Left) is scheduled for 6 p.pm. on Wednesday. Greece’s coalition government is on the verge of breaking apart over Samaras’ order to shut down public broadcaster ERT and his reluctant to follow the temporary ruling of Council of State ordering the immediate restoration of all television and radios frequencies of ERT.

Venizelos and Kouvelis have agreed on a common position: immediate restoration of ERT with all the ‘dismissed’ personnel and then discussion on restructure.

Samaras appears to be a bit lost and overwhelmed by the crisis management he is called to deal with, if we believe all the scenarios leaked to the press about how ERT will be on air again.

Last night several circulating scenarios spoke of possibilities for a temporary ERT broadcast until the new Greek public broadcaster is established:

  1. temporary ERT broadcast to be run by 30 people working on two-month work contracts
  2. temporary ERT broadcast to be run by 200 people
  3. temporary ERT broadcast to be run by 800 people

On Wednesday morning a fourth scenario and Samaras proposal reach his coalition partners:

“The final proposal foresees the rehiring of all 2,600 dismissed ERT employees on fixed-term contracts that would allow them to work for another two months – the estimated period of transition from ERT to a new, streamlined state broadcaster. The proposal was reportedly sent to PASOK and DIMAR and, although there were no official reactions, the general sense was that it could provide the basis of a settlement,” wrote daily ekathimerini

PASOK let know that these several scenarios on circulation could not be taken seriously.

Political games with justice

On Tuesday evening Athens News Agency published a clarification on how the decision of the Council of State should be interpreted. Allegedly the clarification was made by the president of CoS who had issued the rebroadcast order.

Stunned journalists and lawyers read how the Court was -allegedly – setting the lines on how its temporary decision of ERT re-opening shoul dbe interpreted. Readers were stunned because it is not up to this court to set such guidelines.

According to a court statement, the staff should be employed on a project-based or fixed-term contract and a decision about whether they will be employed from former ERT staff or from the wider private sector must come from the two politicians [FinMin Stournaras & Media Minister Kedikoglou].

It pointed out that, according to article three of the June 11 government decree outlining the closure of ERT, the broadcaster’s entire 2,650-plus staff have effectively been sacked.

The two ministers must also announce an administrator for the temporary broadcaster, who will be expected to determine the number and nature of the staff (journalists, technicians, administration etc) and make the final personnel choices.

It pointed out that, according to article three of the June 11 government decree outlining the closure of ERT, the broadcaster’s entire 2,650-plus staff have effectively been sacked.

The two ministers must also announce an administrator for the temporary broadcaster, who will be expected to determine the number and nature of the staff (journalists, technicians, administration etc) and make the final personnel choices. (via enetenglish)

An hour later  the president of the Council of State denied that he had offered such clarification thus exposing those circulating this news. Greek media,  coalition government partners and opposition parties sharply condemned the what it seems to be a ‘fake’ interpretation of CoS decision to serve only certain purposes and interests.

PASOK strongly reacted  saying such actions  “offend the Justice and play naive and dangerous games against political stability. ‘

Shortly before midnight, constitutional law professor Costas Chrysogonos told tvxs.gr that “informal clarification on court decisions are not possible”. Therefore these leaks were legally baseless and ethically unacceptable, wrote tvxs.gr.

ERT still on air with pirate program

Almost 36 hours after the court decision, ERT frequencies are still silent.

While a disagreement among the coalition partners could bring the country to snap elections, the fired ERT personnel continues to broadcast from the occupied ERT headquarters, with unions and opposition parties (except extreme-right Golden Dawn) flocking daily to express their support.

Concerts are organized on a daily basis, while unions organize mass protests.

Greece’s biggest journalist union ESIEA filed a law suit against FinMin Stournaras on the grounds that he refused to obey the court decision and restart the ERT signal. After Samaras’ order to shutdown the public broadcaster, ERT management went over to the finance minister.

PS I think by 9 pm the latest we will know where the country is going… to snap elections or ERT programs