Against the shut of the Greek Public Television and Radio – ERT

Posted: June 14, 2013 in opinion
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On the 11th of June, the Greek government, once again expressing its totalitarian identity, took the decision to pull the plug on the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) with its three channels and numerous radio stations. In this way Greece became the first EU country without a public broadcaster and 2,700 workers were forced to unemployment. This decision was taken without parliamentary approval (apart from New Democracy the only political party openly supporting it is Golden Dawn), against the Greek constitution. From 5pm when the Samaras’ government suddenly announced the shutdown, it took only 6 hours for the riot police to pull down the antennas while the program was still on air.

According to Samaras, ERT suffers from a “unique lack of transparency and incredible waste” and needs to be shutdown in order to give space to a new ERT built in the future. Nevertheless, his party (New Democracy) and Pasok, which have been in power in Greece for the last 40 years, are the ones that have been imposing their own people in management positions in order to pursue their political agenda. These are the people with large salaries causing the waste and not the everyday employees. For that reason, it is naïve to believe that the new ERT is going to be objective and efficient – it will be an even more corrupt mouthpiece of the government and the ruling class.

From the moment of the official announcement, the employees (journalists, technicians and administrative staff) decided to occupy the premises and continue to broadcast showing their opposition to the completely anti-democratic policies of the government. Thousands of people have gathered to all the ERT premises around Greece. They are expressing their solidarity to the fired workers and demonstrating against the closure of the last broadcasting body which has been instrumental in promoting culture and connecting Greek emigrants with their home country. Moreover, the Greek National Union of Journalists has voted for a continuous strike and on Thursday the 13th of June there was a call for a general strike of the private and public sector.  Foreign media, as an act of solidarity, have been transmitting in Greek (ARTE JOURNAL) and reproducing the signal around the world. In addition to this, Journalists’ Unions from the EU and the UK have announced their solidarity messages to their colleagues in Greece, while the government in a fascist way is threatening all those who are reproducing the ERT signal with legal sanctions.

Apart from thousands of jobs, a massive archive of cultural wealth, managed by ERT, is also now in danger. This is the creation of the people and it needs to stay in their hands. In addition, there is also a significant amount of material wealth in terms of important broadcasting infrastructure and technology which has been paid for by the people. This simply cannot be left to private hands, in the same way as other parts of our social wealth (the telecommunications and energy infrastructure, the ports and the airlines), the subjection of which to market forces has already begun.

We are against a state ‘public’ broadcaster whose job is to secure the ideological and political domination of the political and economic elites within Greece and the EU. We are fighting for a public media outlet that truly belongs to and speaks for the people and their needs. The thousands outside the ERT premises all around Greece must multiply and form a radical movement against the government, for a society of peoples’ needs.




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