Greece Shuts Down State Broadcaster in Shocking Austerity Measure

World | June 12, 2013, Wednesday // 07:16|  views

A TV grab shows a presenter of the public broadcaster ERT announcing to viewers Tuesday night “You'll be seeing black on ERT channels"

The Greek government has shut down the radio and TV services of the state broadcaster ERT and suspended all employees as part of its latest austerity measures.

"ERT is a case of an exceptional lack of transparency and incredible extravagance. This ends now," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said earlier.

In his words the public broadcaster ERT, was a real "haven of waste".

While all 2,500 employees would be sacked, he added they would be paid compensation and would be able to apply for work when the corporation relaunches as a smaller, independent public broadcaster.

The decision took viewers by surprise as they saw the screens go to black late on Tuesday evening.

The head of ERT's foreign desk, Odin Linardatou, said the announcement took journalists by surprise too.

"We are very shocked, we are angry," she told the BBC's Newshour programme. "What I cannot accept in a democracy is that Greece will not have a public broadcaster."

Thousands of people held a protest against the decision outside ERT headquarters.

It is the latest move in rafts of spending cuts and tax rises aimed at leading the country out of recession.

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Tags: TV, radio, ERT, state broadcaster, austerity measures, greece, Greek, government


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