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Chaos in the restoration of the ERT state television

14 March 2015 / 20:03:10  GRReporter
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The ERT state broadcaster will no longer have a supervisory board. It will be repealed by the draft bill for ERT’s restoration. The draft’s discussion will start on Monday.

This was deemed necessary as the supervisory board was believed to delay the decision-making process while the government wants to avoid "red tape and delays on many levels."

The amendment aims to "improve the organisation and functioning of the state television."

The responsibilities of the supervisory board will be transferred to the management board of the current state channel NERIT and its political master, a government minister.

This implies that the current supervisory cabinet member, Minister of State Nikos Pappas, could potentially interfere with NERIT’s inhouse dealings. Nonetheless, the planned amendment is allegedly aiming at "incremental reparation of past interventions, which disregarded the institution and distorted the purpose of the public broadcaster."

The supervisory board, according to the law on NERIT, had a dual role. On the one hand, it oversaw the work of the organisation's management board and its compliance with the rules for transparency and equal opportunities. On the other hand, it acted as a ‘wall’ keeping partisan interference in check. In practice, however, there was interference in NERIT’s affairs precisely by supervisory board members.

E.g., the supervisory board oversaw an entangled process under NERIT’s law designed to warrant meritocracy (i.e. equal opportunities) and transparency in the appointment of management board members (although this provision was subsequently repealed by the New Democracy government, and management board members were appointed by the incumbent minister, then Sofia Voultepsi).

The provision referring to an equally complicated procedure for the election of supervisory board members is also repealed.

According to speculations, the new amendment is not free of ulterior motives. For example, it will enable the state minister responsible for the media to determine its MB’s lineup. The latter, within a one-year mandate, will oversee the smooth transition from one organisational scheme to another. Reportedly, it will control NERIT’s financial affairs as well.

The government's actions to restore ERT through the bill now under discussion, are welcomed by the journalists fired when ERT was closed down in June 2013. They vow they will continue to fight for the kind of state television they had dreamed of.

The journalists emphasized that the bill, submitted by Minister of State Nikos Pappas, is the first step towards the restoration of the state radio and television, and noted: "We will participate in the process to clarify or amend ERT’s outlook in the best possible direction".

Tags: State TV NERIT ERT draft law Supervisory Board
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