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Samaras is prone to yield about ERT

15 June 2013 / 15:06:52  GRReporter
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Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has suggested the creation of a committee, in which all parties will be represented and the aim of which will be the appointment of a small number of workers, so that the information programme of the state television could start being broadcasted immediately. This is an attempt to resolve the situation. In his statement, Samaras explained that the committee will be temporary and composed of a national "liquidator", who will be appointed by the Minister of Finance. The Prime Minister emphasised that the bill for the creation of a new public television submitted by the government can be voted next week and said that he expected that political leaders would be responsible, so that the cooperation between partner parties and positive progress of the economy could continue.

"The statement of the Prime Minister does not match what PASOK said"

PASOK announced its position publicly and absolutely clearly, and Samaras’s statement does not match it, the party commented.

Democratic Left: the national TV should continue to operate with its daily programme

At the same time, the Democratic Left party emphasised that ERT should continue to operate with its daily programme. Yesterday, party representative Andreas Papadopoulos wrote on his personal Twitter account that the Democratic Left party is insisting on the restoration of ERT’s signal with its full programme, and all kinds of restructuring and changes should be carried out while the broadcaster is operating. At noon, the chairman of the party met the Prime Minister’s advisor Dimitris Stamatis. Reportedly, Stamatis submitted a proposal on the issue with ERT regarding the meeting of the three political leaders on Monday afternoon, and Fotis Kouvelis repeated the request of the party regarding the immediate restoration of the television.

Any discussion on the reorganisation of ERT should be carried out while the broadcaster is operating, Andreas Papadopoulos reiterated on Radio Alpha. The decision to close the television has no legal basis, the issue is political and it should be resolved politically, and not in courts, he said.

The intervention of the President

The President also intervened in the turbulent events surrounding the issue. Presidency sources mentioned that Karolos Papoulias is "for" the restructuring of the public television, but ERT should remain open.

ERT journalists: "no" to the transitional scheme

Employees in the public television are determined to combat and prevent any plans of the government for a transitional operational system of the broadcaster.

A decision published on the website of the Journalists' Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers stresses that they will oppose any attempt for a deal aimed at ERT’s opening with "a government seal."

What else do they say in the decision? ERT journalists will continue their struggle, so that the public television can stay alive and open. With the support of citizens, workers across the country, researchers and civil society organisations, intellectuals and artists, they will oppose the implementation of the government's decision to muzzle ERT’s microphones. With the same force, journalists will struggle against the government's plans for ERT's transitional scheme of operation. The Journalists' Union stated categorically that no journalist will yield to this operation of buying and trading hopes for a wage in a false ERT. No journalist, member of the Union, of ERT or outside the television, will offer their services to this "operation-broom" of the Minister of Finance that provides for two-month and quarterly contracts. The struggle for an open ERT with transparent operation, independence and respect for the work of journalists will be negotiated. This is the struggle of the whole of society.


Meanwhile, it became clear that, according to JP Morgan investment bank, the issue of the public television can become a turning point for Greece. As stated in the report of the bank, the discontinuation of the television’s operation will bring risks, which, however, Prime Minister Samaras believes are worth taking. "ERT’s discontinuation has opponents among government partners, too, and has prompted strong public protests. It does not seem to be a political failure, though," said JP Morgan. According to them, the government wants to get rid of some of the sacred cows of the public sector. If it manages to get through this crisis, New Democracy will emerge stronger, since it would have shown determination to continue with the restructuring of the public sector. As a result, a wider restructuring will cause less fear, the report reads.

The three leaders of partner parties will meet on Monday afternoon. Government sources told Reuters, that it was possible that they could come to an agreement and ERT would start broadcasting again, but this would not cause new elections in the country.

Tags: ERT closure media state broadcaster journalists JP Morgan
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