The Greek government has closed the state broadcaster, Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi, (>ERT), laying off 2,800 employees. The government has the intention to establish a new, modern public broadcaster with fewer employees in the place of ERT. The current budget of €300m is to be cut to €100M for the new entity.
The broadcaster was closed by decree, allowe as part of the restructuring of public enterprises. The European Commission did not seek the closure, stating that the Greek government has a mandate to manage the public sector.
The aim is to staunch incredible waste" of taxpayers' money prior to relaunching a slimmed-down station. The station has poor ratings, with the three channels achieving ratings around 13 percent of viewing.
The EBU has urged the Greek government to reverse its decision. Jean Paul Phillppot, EBU president, and Ingrid Deltenre, EBU Director General have sent an open letter to the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samara, urging him to “to use all his powers to immediately reverse this decision.”
Reuters reports: "Many Greeks have little love for ERT journalists and the state broadcaster is often cited as an example of inefficiency, overspending and jobs given in return for political favors."