NERIT is a not a Public Service Broadcaster

    NERIT is a not a Public Service Broadcaster

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    UNI Global Union calls for support of ERTopen

    Statement of UNI Global Union on Public Service Broadcasting in Greece, Athens, 7 May 2014

    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 started broadcasting on Sunday, May 4th. By doing this, the Greek government wants to show that Greece has once again a public broadcaster.

    But 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 one TV and one radio program operating as a small office of government propaganda. All public service missions that ERT fulfilled have been dropped, such as the historic National Audiovisual Archive, music ensembles, and the TV and Radios of Thessaloniki and all regional radio stations in 19 cities. 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. Even the infrastructure that once belonged to ERT is not an integral part of NERIT. It simply has the right of use of a tiny fraction of the ERT heritage. This is indeed very far away from the announcements made by the Greek government when protests peaked over the closure during summer of 2013 that it will build a modern state of the art public broadcaster. The special Minister for Public Service Broadcasting left his position, the CEO of NERIT was dismissed just one day after its so-called launch.

    Today, there is not one indication that the Greek government is serious about public service broadcasting. 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.

    UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said: »The Greek government is playing games with media democracy. All promises to reform public service broadcasting in Greece serve as a pretext to destroy it. The fake set-up of NERIT is another blatant lie. 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 »The broadcasting staff and unions at ERTopen are defending democracy and public service values. This is not an issue of Greece alone. It concerns the entire global public service broadcasting community. Continous support for ERTopen is vital.«

    »UNI Europa calls on the EU Institutions to finally act on the unmaking of public service broadcasting in Greece«, said UNI Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Röthig during a visit to the ERTopen studios in Athens. »We urge the new European Parliament that it starts its legislature doing the right thing: inquest this scandal and put pressure on the Greek government«, he added.

    »There was no economic reason to shut down ERT in the first place. It was a deliberate political decision to silence independent media. ERTopen, which has been run by our colleagues and former ERT staff since the shutdown of ERT on 11 June 2013 deserve our respect and they need our support. They also need the support of the EBU. We will continue to support the resistance of our colleagues«, said EURO-MEI President William Maunier

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