The EU must immediately intervene and ask the Greek government to reverse its decision
The European Green Party (EGP) has reacted with concern to the Greek government’s decision yesterday to close down the national broadcaster. According to Monica Frassoni, EGP Co-Chair.
“It is true that blind austerity measures have been forced on the Greeks. We have often condemned the heavy consequences of such a situation, and called for a change in approach. But, closing ERT in this fashion, using the police, was very much a decision made by the Greek government itself. A public broadcaster is the kind of basic service that is fundamental to democracy. Yesterday’s decision to close ERT removes an important safeguard and constitutes a very worrying precedent.
“ERT plays a unique role in the Greek media landscape. Public funding means ERT operates with an editorial independence that is impossible with commercial stations. Commercial broadcasting, like any profit-driven enterprise, will always put pressure from advertisers and owners above everything else. Without ERT, Greece no longer has an independent voice that is operates outside of these considerations. We will not enter into discussion about the need to cut exaggerated expenses claims, or the need for deep reforms of ERT. We simply want to state that these problems cannot be solved by closing the broadcaster down and suddenly dismissing over 2,500 people.
“We note that the government has committed to reopening ERT, but has not set a date. The EU cannot stay silent in this situation. It must ask the Greek government to reverse its decision. As the Greek government uses austerity as an excuse to make brutal, unfair cuts, it is of utmost important that ERT be allowed to act as safeguard.”