European Broadcasters Call on Greece to Reopen Public Network

Thousands have gathered outside ERT's headquarters in Athens to protest the network's closure.
Thousands have gathered outside ERT's headquarters in Athens to protest the network's closure.
 Getty

The director generals of 50 European TV and radio broadcasters have called on the Greek government to reopen its state broadcaster, ERT, after Athens pulled the plug on the network earlier this week.

The head of Britain's BBC, Tony Hall, called the move by the Greek government to abruptly pull the plug on ERT "undemocratic and unprofessional." German, French, Spanish and Italian public broadcasters were also among the signatories to a petition to Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras in support of reopening ERT.

STORY: Cash-Strapped Greek Government to Temporarily Shut Down State TV

Samaras made the radical move to shut down the network on Tuesday, saying the move was necessary amid widespread austerity measures in the country. The government says it plans to reopen the broadcaster soon, after making major cost-cutting measures.

The decision sparked protests in Athens, where thousands gathered outside ERT's broadcast headquarters. The crisis continues to grow with many suggesting it could even topple Samaras' government.

Despite having their regular transmission shut down, employees of ERT, all of whom were fired as a result of Samaras' executive order, continue to broadcast one news channel live on the Internet. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), an association of European public broadcasters, on Thursday set up an emergency feed to retransmit the signal via three satellites to viewers worldwide. The EBU has called on European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso to intervene in the Greek crisis.

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