Restructured Greek Public Broadcaster Begins Airing News Shows
Predecessor ERT was abruptly shut down in June over budget constraints, with the new EDT aiming to be a much leaner operation.
Greece's new public broadcaster, EDT, has begun airing TV news a little over two months after the government shut down the previous state network, ERT, citing budget woes and austerity measures.
In June, the government led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras abruptly pulled the plug on ERT, sparking large street protests and setting off a political crisis that many thought might end in new elections. All of ERT’s 2,700 employees were laid off in the sudden suspension, but staff continued to broadcast over the Internet and via satellite relay, with support from the European Broadcasting Union.
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In response to the protests and left-wing party demands in the government coalition, a Greek court ordered ERT back on air while Athens argued over how to restructure it.
Greek authorities then radically streamlined the broadcaster, hiring back 500 staff on two-month contracts and introducing the new leaner public broadcasting entity, EDT. During the intervening period, the broadcaster mostly showed classic black-and-white Greek films. The public broadcaster’s first news show was a two-hour program that began this morning at 8 a.m., Athens time.
Union representatives of the ERT employees not rehired have vowed to continue their Internet programming, according to the Associated Press.