Greek journalists are staging a 24-hour walk out in response to the government shutdown of the public service TV station ERT.
In one of the most dramatic public sector closures to shore up Greek finances and meet bailout terms, ERT made its last broadcast at midnight on Tuesday just hours after the shutdown was announced. More than 2,700 lost their jobs as a result of the executive order.
Journalists says the move is a form of censorship.
“In an anti-constitutional, anti-democratic, and fascist, I could well say – way, this government wanted to shut down public radio and television. It’s a world first,” declared Panagiotis Kalfayiannis, President of the ERT Workers’ Union.
One of the bailout partners, the EU, has faced criticism over the measures taken, but Brussels responded by saying it had not sought ERT’s closure.
Residents in Athens could hardly believe that ERT has been taken off air.
“It is inconceivable for a country belonging to the EU in 2013 to not have a government channel, a public source of information,” claimed one young Athens resident.
Another resident added: “What about people in the far-off Greek islands and Crete people? Will they have to listen to Turkish news now?”
In response, the Greek government have announced a slimmed down ERT could be re-opened within a matter of weeks.
Journalists threatened to strike until the ‘gag on information’ is lifted, with print media due to join in on Thursday.