The Greek prime minister’s decision to shut down the public television station ERT has led to a one day general strike in the country. Journalists across all media have called an indefinite strike.The prime minister’s move has also stoked anger within the coalition government.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras explained the thinking behind the closure of the station.
“We will create a new TV broadcaster, in line with contemporary models. Those that are resisting are not supporter of state television, they are supporting the ERT of the past. We are getting rid of an entity that lacked transparency, that was full of waste and some people are disturbed by this because they want this to continue, this lack of transparency and waste.”
The move came on the back of the Athens bourse being cut to emerging market status and the renewed turmoil led to European stock markets closing lower. Employees at the station have vowed to defy the government and occupy the channel’s building.
“Everybody knows that the government decides who is going to be appointed as a manager and the management decides about any of these decisions that have to do with political favours and everybody knows some of the journalists were appointed by political favours,” said ERT Presenter Fanis Papathanasiou.
Reports and interviews compiled in ERT are being streamed live on the net. Analysts believe what is happening with the station is a more immediate threat to the government than the financial downgrade.