Euronews has met with the president of the European Broadcasting Union, an alliance of public service media organisations.
In an interview with euronews’ Efi Koutsokosta, Jean-Paul Philippot warned the absence of a strong public broadcaster would be bad for Greek democracy.
euronews: “Do you think there are some terms or some values of European treaties violated with this decision?”
Jean-Paul Philippot, president of the European Broadcasting Union: “Obviously. European ideas are built on several values. One of them is democracy, freedom of expression, pluralism of expression. And so when the Greek government suppresses the public services, it suppresses the public remit. And these values are weaker today than yesterday. It’s a drama”
euronews: “Many argue that if this can happen in Greece, it can happen in many other countries, in Spain, in Italy.
Philippot “In Portugal. Absolutely.”
euronews: “So, the information as a public good is in danger now?”
Philippot: “Certainly yes. And it’s a huge concern for all citizens in Greece. But it’s a huge concern for all members of public broadcasters all around Europe.”
euronews: “Is this the first time that such a decision has been taken?”
Philippot: “Yes. In the worst page of the history of Europe, when there was absolutely no democracy in different countries, never, never has it happened.”
euronews: “What do you think about the European Commission’s position, saying that this decision should be seen in the context of the necessary efforts that the Greek authorities have taken?”
Philippot: “Ambiguous. Absolutely unclear. They say and I read “welcome the commitment of the government to launch a media actor in the future”. Nothing, nothing about the suppression of the signal today!!! Nothing about this empty space in the media landscape.”
euronews: “So, what will your next steps be?”
Philippot: “We’ll support improvements and savings in ERT, but we will do that at (sic) the unique condition: we start again to broadcast, we do our job, from now – till a reform that will happen, maybe in the next week or month.”