Click here for the 2013 thread relating to the closure of ERT
On 11th June 2013, the New Democracy lead coalition government in Greece led by Antonis Samaras closed with six hours notice the public radio and television company ERT leaving over 2500 people jobless.
ERT as it was certainly had it's issues. There were people there (as at all Greek public sector companies) who earned very large salaries for doing nothing or at the best very little. However these people were put there by the governments of PASOK or New Democracy (who each used to be the winners of Greek elections) so of course it was surprising that the coalition government that consisted of them both were the ones who made these claims in order to close it. It also resulted in the junior member of the coalition quitting.
However it's important to say that the majority of workers at ERT earned standard wages and worked very hard. The pressure on ERT had begun long before it's closure when the government installed management suspended the breakfast show hosts over comments made that were critical of the government. Click here for a Guardian story related to press freedom in Greece from back in 2012
The main reason for the closure was the government needed to meet targets set by the troika relating to public sector layoffs and as ERT workers counted towards this total, dismissing over 2500 with six hours notice ensured they met this target.
There was an interesting documentary made on ERT's closure called THE LOST SIGNAL OF DEMOCRACY. If you search it on Google then you'll find the program, in its entirety and it makes for interesting watching.
So... (and this is me trying to keep this story short), after many months of a single channel called DT (Public Television) being broadcast, NERIT (New Hellenic Radio Internet and Television) was launched and has two channels (N1 and N Sport which later became N Plus). The new channel was supposed to be free of government involvement but the same allegations that were linked to ERT are also present at NERIT. Right back to day one when concern was raised at the process used to hire workers and this resulted in a director resigning saying he wasn't free to do his job
During this whole time, ERT have been broadcasting via the internet (their site is www.ertopen.com).
Cut forward now to 2015, the radical left (SYRIZA) party refused to endorse any of the candidates that were put forward by the government to replace Karolos Papoulias as president. This prompted early elections that Syriza clearly won (although they fell two seats short of taking a majority meaning they too have had to enter into a coalition).
One of Syriza's pre-election promises was the restoration of ERT. It's taken some time (as it went quiet post election) however movement seems to be being made. One of Syriza's MP's is Aglaia Kyritsi who has been part of the ERT struggle and even broadcast the nightly news broadcast from Mesogeion Avenue in Athens the evening after the riot police evacuated the workers from the ERT building to allow NERIT to move in.
The latest update is that the government are going to table a bill next week to reinstate ERT, it was supposed to happen this week but has been delayed. The government plan to finance this by increasing the charge Greeks see on their electricity bill for public radio and television.
The Greek press are speculating that the change from NERIT to ERT will take place in April but remember this is Greece. Everything will happen in it's own time.
Click here for a story in English from Capital.gr relating to the re-opening of ERT