World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Deep Concerns Over Closure of Greek Public Broadcaster

SEEMO/IPI Press Release: SEEMO/IPI Deeply Concerned Over Closure of Greek Public Broadcaster

Suspension threatens free flow of information amid economic crisis

Vienna,12 June 2013 – The sudden closure of Greek public broadcaster ERT seriously threatens the Greek public’s right to information during a period of profound uncertainty, the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI) warned today.

The Greek government on Tuesday suddenly announced it was suspending ERT and laying off the station’s almost 3,000 employees as part of a a creditor-mandated effort to reduce public employment.

Under the terms of a bill passed by Parliament in April, the Greek government is required to cut 15,000 state employees by the end of 2014. Defending the suspension, a government spokesman said ERT suffered from an “exceptional lack of transparency and incredible extravagance.” According to reports, the government plans to relaunch a slimmed-down state broadcaster late this summer.

The station ceased broadcasting at midnight Tuesday. ERT host Antonis Alafogiorgos, in a final airing, called the closure a “blow to democracy”. The Greek media community has responded angrily, with the Athens Journalists’ Union announcing a 48-hour strike and indignant protesters gathering outside ERT headquarters.

In a gesture of support for ERT, Greek private broadcasters pulled live content for six hours on Tuesday evening, declining to show the evening news. 

IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills said: “We are deeply concerned at the Greek government’s decision to completely shutdown the public broadcaster. As a result, at a time of national crisis the Greek public - who have a right to be informed about what is happening in their country and elsewhere, are being deprived of a crucial channel of information. We urge the Greek government to reverse their decision, and to consider the suggestion that cost-cutting at a national public broadcaster does not have to mean shutting it down completely, and jeopardising the people’s right to know.”

Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General, added: "I am urging Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to use his power to reverse this decision. The government decision is a clear step against democracy and media freedom in Greece.  Instead of helping the transformation of the public broadcaster and giving ERT managers the possibility to develop strategies for reducing the costs and number of employees, instead of supporting an open public and a parliamentary discussion about the public broadcaster, the government decided to close ERT and to silence an important media voice in Greece. I am asking also the EU institutions in Brussels to react urgently to this alarming step from Athens".

ERT had been broadcasting since 1938, and was one of the founding members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in 1950. It ran three domestic TV channels and four national radio stations, as well as regional radio stations and satellite programmes. One of its primary sources of funding was a 4,30 EUR addition to the monthly electricity bills of every household in Greece.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

As Health Needs Rise In Somalia, Funding Hits New Low

As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care – UN More>>

Need To End Violence Against Children In Conflict

‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict – UNICEF chief More>>

On Mandela Day, UN Joins Call To Promote Community Service

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran More>>

Some $3.2 Billion Needed For Ebola Recovery Efforts

Some $3.2 billion needed for Ebola recovery efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – UN More>>

World Day: UN Spotlights Plight Of Vulnerable Populalations

Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting near the Syrian city of Kobani wait in a holding area before boarding buses in Turkey (September 2014). Photo: UNHCR /I. Prickett More>>

Afghanisatan: Direct Talks Between Government And Taliban

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives as a step towards “peace and reconciliation” in the region. More>>

Eradicating World Hunger By 2030

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann More>>

Bangladesh: Flood Leads To UN Agency Providing Food Relief

Anwar Hossain unloads cartons of High Energy Biscuits from a pickup truck and transfers them to a distribution center in Kawar Khop union, Ramu upazila, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Kamrul Mithon More>>

Ban Says World Must Act Now To Curb Climate Change

Alarmed by melting glacier in Norway, Ban says world must 'act now' to curb climate change More>>

UN Spotlights Data And Technology As Key To Sustainability

The importance of quality data and cutting edge information communication technologies (ICTs) is increasingly critical to the shaping of the future sustainable development agenda, the head of the United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP ) confirmed today. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news