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Greece launches new state-run broadcaster

New public TV channel, EDT, has begun programming more than two months after abrupt closure of former service ERT.

Last Modified: 22 Aug 2013 04:15
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Fired workers had been producing programming from ERT's headquarters since the shutdown [File: GALLO/GETTY]

Greece has launched a new public television channel, EDT, more than two months after the abrupt closure of the state broadcaster ERT.

Some of the 2,700 fired staff have been continuing to produce programmes from their old offices. Europe's association of public broadcasters pulled the plug on Wednesday on transmissions by the sacked workers.

The Geneva-based European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it will stop relaying their programmes to viewers, leaving ERT only available online.

Greece's conservative-led government cited the need to cut costs due to the country's severe financial crisis for its decision to abruptly close ERT on June 11.

The ensuing international outcry led to a severe political crisis that saw a small left-wing party withdrawing from the country's fragile three-party governing coalition, leaving the government with a tiny majority in Parliament.

The fired workers have been producing round-the-clock programming for more than two months from ERT's headquarters, which they have taken over, in defiance of the government shutdown.

'Pledge honoured'

The EBU streamed the transmissions by satellite and the Internet, maintaining that "independent public service media is indispensable for democracies, culture and societies".

New public TV launch prompts anger in Greece

But the EBU said it would halt its streaming of the transmissions after an announcement that a new, temporary state broadcaster would begin broadcasting news programmes nationwide on Wednesday.

"The EBU made a commitment to supply satellite capacity and relay the ex-ERT signal until a terrestrial signal carrying basic public service media output could be established," it said in a statement posted on its website. "This pledge has been honoured."

Defiant former ERT workers vowed to continue their broadcasts via the Internet.

"We will keep on working and producing the same complete programme that we have been producing up to today. It will be available online for everyone, from our live streaming," Panagiotis Kalfagiannis, head of the POSPERT union of broadcast employees, told AP. "What we will lose is the capacity to have transmissions ... by analogue TV signal."

Greek authorities recently announced that more than 500 people had been hired on a two-month contract for Greece's new interim state broadcaster, which so far has born the simple logo of "Public Television".

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Source:
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