The closure of ERT, the Greek state broadcaster, led to the withdrawal from government of one of its coalition parties and to strikes and widespread protests. It has been presented as a money saving measure but is in fact an act of censorship by a corrupt government, tied to tax defrauding rich and foreign corporations, waiting to profit from asset striping through privatisation and land sales. Some key facts are worth noting:
- The closure was made by decree, sacking 2059 employees and closing all digital signals
- ERT broadcasts are continuing through the Communist party KKE in analogue
- ERT was accused of corruption after it refused the demand to employ 23 governing party people.
- It is paid for directly by Greek citizens through a licence paid with their electricity bills
- Despite a fall in revenue of 15% it has expanded its reach. It is the only broadcaster that reaches all regions in Greece and also broadcasts to the Greek diaspora.
- The closure has been supported by only 2 parties, Golden Dawn the fascist party and New Democracy the majority government party
- Recent ERT coverage has included the re-trial of Kostas Vaxevanis who disclosed a list of the rich elite and politicians who had been evading tax through bank accounts in Switzerland (the ‘Lagarde List’), and was found not to have committed a crime last October. The re-trial, which has now been postponed until October this year, has been called ‘ discriminatory prosecution” by Kostas.
The lack of protest at this flagrantly anti-democratic measure by the EU is not surprising as the government in Greece has agreed to impose its bailout programme.