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Bizarre, inexplicable threat to close Greek radio

Journalists Call for European Solidarity Over 'bizarre and inexplicable' threat to close down FLASH radio in Greece

The European Federation of Journalists today called on its national member organisation across Europe to support Greek journalists over what it calls a "bizarre and inexplicable" threat to close down FLASH radio, one of the country's most popular and professional, broadcasters.

The plan to close the station and its online news service ‘FLASH.GR’ comes without any consultation over the social consequences or any restructuring and if it goes ahead it will leave more more than 120 journalists and media workers jobless. The announcement came this week and left staff bewildered not least because FLASH radio station is one of four highly-regarded news radio stations in Greece and is well respected for its pluralism and credibility, ranking among the ten first places in audience preferences.

"The news that FLASH radio is under threat is astonishing and incomprehensible," said Aidan White, EFJ General Secretary. "The station is a pillar of the Greek democratic system, it is one of the only national broadcasters with editorial guidelines that reflect a commitment to political pluralism and it has a popular following. A move to close it is both bizarre and inexplicable."

The EFJ is calling on its members to send messages of support to the coalition of media unions that is campaigning to keep the station open. The owenership of the station, which is currently in private hands is affected by complex stockholding rights and may require a change of hands, but the current owners are unhappy about handing the station over to a new player who may use as a competitive force in future.

"There are a number of options that should be considered," said White. "Not least of them is the possibility of creating some for of co-operative ownership structure in which the workforce can play a role. But the priority should be to keep this station on the air -- it is a highly professional and winning outfit that should not be wound up because for bureaucratic or technical reasons."

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