The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) expressed on Tuesday its “profound dismay” at the Greek government’s decision to shut down Greek broadcaster ERT with immediate effect.
The government said it would reopen a leaner version of public radio and TV at a later date but the EBU called on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to reverse the decision to close the broadcaster.
The President of the EBU, Jean Paul Philippot and the EBU Director General, Ingrid Deltenre, highlighted the need for ERT to remain on air.
“The existence of public service media and their independence from government lie at the heart of democratic societies, and therefore any far-reaching changes to the public media system should only be decided after an open and inclusive democratic debate in Parliament – and not through a simple agreement between two government ministers,” the EBU said.
“While we recognize the need to make budgetary savings, national broadcasters are more important than ever at times of national difficulty. This is not to say that ERT need be managed less efficiently than a private company. Naturally, all public funds must be spent with the greatest of care,” Philippot and Deltenre said in their letter.