It remained unclear on Saturday whether the former state broadcaster, ERT, would return to the airwaves on Monday, as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had announced last week, amid objections to ERT’s new management.
According to media reports, many former ERT staff who have been rehired, and several SYRIZA MPs, object to the new management team that has been proposed. Meanwhile, unionists representing the new staff are said to be at loggerheads with the government.
In a speech to SYRIZA’s central committee on Saturday, Tsipras neither confirmed nor denied that ERT would reopen on Monday as planned. He noted, however, that the former broadcaster, which was abruptly shut down in June 2013 by then-Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, “should already have been operating.”
“We are late. We have the political responsibility for [ERT’s] immediate reoperation, without any more foot-dragging,” Tsipras said in a clear dig as those behind the disputes. “ERT is not reopening so certain people can get their jobs back but so that people can have a pluralist source of information,” Tsipras said.
More than 2,600 people lost their jobs when ERT was pulled off the air two years ago. Of those, around 750 were reemployed under ERT’s replacement, Nerit, which is to be incorporated in the “new ERT.” Legislation passed last month paved the way for another 1,500 workers to be rehired.