NEWS

Journalist unions call media strike to protest ERT closure as employees continue broadcasting

The Athens Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) called a 48-hour strike from 6 a.m. on Wednesday on TV and radio stations to protest the closure of state broadcaster ERT.

ESIEA said newspaper journalists would strike on Thursday for 24 hours.

There was also a six-hour stoppage on TV and radio on Tuesday after the government announced it would closing ERT and later opening a new broadcaster with fewer employees.

Despite the signal to ERT’s TV channels being lost shortly after 11 p.m. on Tuesday, employees at the broadcasters headquarters in Athens and Thessaloniki refused to leave the buildings and managed to resume broadcasts via digital TV and the Internet.

The Communist Party (KKE) also offered the frequency of its TV station, 902, to rebroadcast ERT’s programs.

Thousands of people protesting the broadcaster’s closure had gathered outside ERT’s headquarters in northeastern Athens.

A number of political leaders, including SYRIZA’s Alexis Tsipras and Independent Greeks’ Panos Kammenos, visited the building to express their solidarity with the protestors.

The European Federation of Journalists condemned the decision to shut down ERT. "These plans are simply absurd," said EFJ president Mogens Blicher-Bjerregård. "It will be a major blow to democracy, to media pluralism and to journalism as a public good in Greece, thus depriving citizens from their right to honest, level-headed and unbiased information. But it will also mean the loss of many journalists' jobs across the country."

Online