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ERT: Still off air since June 11th and despite Council of State decision

Two weeks after Samaras’ decision to shutdown public broadcaster ERT and Greeks enjoy the view of multicolored test bars as the government considered the replacement of the black in TV screen with color bars as restoration of ERT frequencies. Finance minister Yiannis Stournaras, the minister in charge also for ERT until Tuesday, meant he therefore had complied with the order of the Council of State. In radio stations things are even worse: a sound and loud, absolute silence…

New appointed minister for Greece’s (past & future) public broadcaster Pantelis Kapsis told private Skai TV on Wednesday morning, that the government would abide with the CoS decision and would immediately remove the ‘black’. Apparently he had failed to check his own TV screen…

Anyway he claimed that the government aims to start the operation of the new ERT “NERIT” within the next three months. However, he declined to elaborate any details about the working contracts of old-ERT employees and said that he would meet with them as soon as possible.

Between old ERT and future NERIT the government is obliged to operate a temporary broadcaster as CoS ordered the restoration of the frequencies and the program.

Kapsis also refrained from commenting to ERT-employees denouncement that the ‘black’ of ERT has cost 300 million euro until today. He said he asked more information about it.

ERT shutdown cost 300 million euro

During a press conference of Tuesday, employees of ERT stressed the immense cost caused by the sudden shutdown of Greece’s public broadcaster on June 11th 2013. A

Major sports events – Cost: 63 million euros

Apart from the 2650 employees’ severance payment, ERT and the Greek state will suffer an injury of at least 63 million euros because of the breach of already signed contracts for the broadcast of major sports events. It is indicative that “2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil” broadcasting rights have already been paid for and amount to 13 million euros.

Lost profits from foreign cable and satellite providers been broadcasted through ERT World channel amount to 2 million euros. The sudden interruption of broadcast offers the opportunity to the providers to deny payment invoking the damage they have suffered because of their contracts having been broken.

ERT has submitted a proposition to NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework) for developing its archive and the establishment of an Audiovisual Museum at its premises. The work has already been approved for a total of 9800000 euros funding. ERT’s disbandment invalidates the corporation’s participation in NSRF. Even if the broadcaster opens up again, it is almost certain that the delay will prove “fatal”.

Risk for ERT to be left without digital frequencies – Equipment costs 8 million euros

The risk for the public television to be left without any digital frequencies is more than imminent, given that the tender process is proclaimed for June 30th. The potential loss of frequencies and the obligatory broadcast of the remaining programmes through private network providers hold the danger of a total abolishment of ERT High Definition, a programme that have been fought against by commercial TV stations,  and the ultimate damage to the equipment bought by ERT at a total cost of 8 million euros.

The cost of a potential loss of digital frequencies for ERT cannot be estimated only in financial terms. The most severe damage is for the public broadcaster to lose its place as an innovator. Moreover, the damage to the Greek film production industry is beyond estimation. (Article from ERT employees website ertopen)

ERT employees continue to defy Stournaras’ call to empty the ERT headquarters. Among others, the ‘fired’ employees state, they cannot just leave the building just like that, when the majority of them has be charged with technical and other equipment.

The fired personnel continues to broadcast via the internet with the help of EBU.

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