One year on: ERT is open – NERIT is broken
One year ago, the Greek government with the complicity of the Troika shut down ERT. But today is also the 1st anniversary of the resistance to the unmaking of independent public service broadcasting in Greece.
Today, Greece has a state broadcaster »NERIT« run by the Finance Ministry without editorial independence. And there is a truly public service broadcaster: ERTopen run by the former ERT staff and their unions, which provides Greek citizens with independent, diverse public service programing in all Greek regions including the former ERT 3 TV channel from Thessaloniki.
UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings said: »UNI Global Union calls on all those who believe in freedom of speech and the importance of public service media values for democracy to support ERTopen staff who do everything to maintain a truly independent public broadcasting service for Greek citizens and fight for the re-establishment of a reformed, sustainable and independent ERT«.
UNI MEI President, Gerry Morrissey said: »This is not an issue of Greece alone. It concerns the entire global public service broadcasting community. Our colleagues and former ERT staff who run ERTopen since the shutdown of ERT on 11 June 2013 deserve our respect and they need our support. They also need the support of the European Broadcasting Union, EBU«.
UNI Global Union and the entire trade union community in the public service broadcasting sector condemns the Greek’s government masquerade pretending to have set-up a new public broadcaster, the so called »NERIT«. NERIT has neither, staff, assets nor does it provides truly public service broadcasting. The government has simply renamed the interim state broadcaster (DT) set-up in September 2013. Under the new logo of NERIT, everything remains the same: it runs minimal programming and the essential public service missions that ERT fulfilled have been dropped. The employees from DT were »carried over« to NERIT. They have no new contracts. There is no proper, transparent recruitment procedure nor any selection criteria. The personnel of NERIT are in effect employees of the Ministry of Finance and remain under the same temporary and renewable 2 months contracts without any social or trade union rights.
After the closure of ERT, the former Minister of Public Service Broadcasting, Mr. Kapsis had announced that the Greek government will build a new public service broadcaster on the basis of the »latest international standards«. But today, one year after the closure of ERT there is not one indication that the Greek government is serious about public service broadcasting.
UNI Europa, Regional Secretary, Oliver Roethig said: »It is unacceptable that a pillar of media democracy and cultural diversity in the European audiovisual landscape was forced to close as a response to the EU and Troika’s demands to meet the goals of a failed austerity policy. One year later all promises have been broken. The EU has failed to defend public service values and media democracy«.
The source of hope for maintaining and developing public service broadcasting values is ERTopen. UNI Global Union applauds the ERT staff and their unions who – against all odds, enormous pressure and discrimination – have not stopped to provide TV, radio and Internet based services to Greek citizens.
William Maunier, President of EURO-MEI said: »The broadcasting staff and unions at ERTopen are defending democracy and public service values. The public service values enshrined in the European Treaty are under attack. The European Commission has made lukewarm statements and done nothing to defend democracy. We urge the newly elected European Parliament that it starts its legislature doing the right thing: inquest this scandal and put pressure on the Greek government«.
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