News / Europe

Staff Protests as Greece Shuts State Broadcaster

An employee looks at people gathering outside the Greek state television headquarters in Athens, June 11, 2013.An employee looks at people gathering outside the Greek state television headquarters in Athens, June 11, 2013.
x
An employee looks at people gathering outside the Greek state television headquarters in Athens, June 11, 2013.
An employee looks at people gathering outside the Greek state television headquarters in Athens, June 11, 2013.
Reuters
— Greece's said Tuesday it would shut down state broadcaster ERT and relaunch it as a leaner, cheaper organization as part of budget cuts, drawing protests from workers, other media and junior partners in the ruling coalition.

The closure was one of the most drastic measures yet to pare down Greek public institutions as part of austerity measures imposed on the country as a condition of its bailout.

ERT's radio and television stations cost the country 300 million euros [$398.24 million] a year and the broadcaster had become a “typical case of... incredible waste,” said government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou.

“At a time when the Greek people are enduring sacrifices, there is no room for delay, hesitation or tolerance for sacred cows,” he added in a televised statement aired on the state broadcaster.

Programs would go off air after midnight and ERT's employees - estimated at around 2,600 - would get compensation and a chance to reapply for jobs in the new organization, said Kedikoglou.

Large crowds of ERT employees gathered outside its Athens headquarters after the announcement, vowing to fight the decision and calling for a general media blackout in protest.

Riot police blocked the entrance to an ERT studio in central Athens where protesters had unfolded a banner reading “Down with the junta, ERT won't close.”

Private TV stations took their shows off air, replacing them with re-runs and commercials, in a six-hour display of solidarity.

“Journalism is persecuted. We won't allow the voice of Greece to be silenced,” said George Savvidis, the chief of journalists' labor union POESY.

The move will be a test for Samaras's fragile three-party coalition, whose two junior partners quickly came out to oppose the shutdown and protested that they were not consulted.

“Public broadcasting can't shut down,” said Yannis Maniatis, senior official of the Socialist PASOK party. “A three-way coalition doesn't work with 'faits accomplis',” he said.

The move came a day after Athens suffered a heavy blow to another part of its austerity program, failing to find a single buyer for natural gas firm DEPA and leaving it short of cash to meet bailout targets.

“This blind strike against ERT is a diversion to the DEPA fiasco,” said independent lawmaker Christos Aidonis.

Inspectors from Greece's “troika” of lenders - the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank - arrived Monday in Athens to measure progress under the bailout program.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid