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Greek court blocks closure of state TV

Court "temporarily" cancels government's decision to close state broadcaster ERT that triggered mass protests last week.

Last Modified: 17 Jun 2013 21:05
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The order to close the state broadcaster was part of a cost-cutting exercise

A Greek court has suspended a government order shuttering state broadcaster ERT, meaning it can resume transmission until a final ruling is issued in the case, a court official has told Reuters news agency.

ERT's union had brought the case to Greece's top administrative court in a bid to block the government's surprise closure of the broadcaster last week that triggered widespread protests.

The ruling, which ordered ERT switched back on until a restructured public broadcaster is launched, has come six day after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras took it off the air.

The order to close the state broadcaster was part of a cost-cutting exercise by the government that is struggling to manage the country's debt. 

Greece's two biggest labour unions joined strike against Samaras's decision to close down ERT, which they described as "coup-like move ... to gag unbiased information".

The ruling appeared to vindicate Samaras's stance that a leaner, cheaper public broadcaster must be set up but also allowed for ERT's immediate reopening as his coalition partners had demanded.

A live feed of ERT, whose journalists have continued broadcasting over the Internet in defiance of orders, showed workers breaking into applause on hearing the court ruling.

ERT's Symphony Orchestra began a concert outside its headquarters, playing an old news jingle to cheering supporters.

Earlier, Samaras had offered to reopen a pared-down version of the state broadcaster under temporary management, reshuffle the cabinet and update the coalition's agreement to improve cooperation between the parties, a government official said.

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