Interim service starts airing on state TV

A month after the closure of state broadcaster ERT, the government took a step toward setting up a transitional service ahead of the creation of a new organization.

From 8 a.m. on Wednesday, the logo of Greek Public Television (EDT) replaced the test card that had occupied ERT’s frequency for weeks, after the black screens that followed the decision by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to close ERT.

Earlier Deputy Culture Minister Pantelis Kapsis, who has been assigned to oversee the creation of a new broadcaster, had said the transitional service would start airing films and documentaries, along with a news ticker, “over the next few hours.”

Broadcasts began at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night.

Kapsis said employees would be recruited for a news program and that the new hires would include a “significant number” of the 2,656 dismissed ERT workers.

The minister said talks with ERT employees had been going well and accused a handful of unionists of standing in the way of a deal. He said the hirings would only go ahead if the premises of ERT, which have been occupied by sacked employees since the closure, are evacuated. He added, however, that authorities were “not planning to send in riot police.”

Unionists dismissed the interim broadcaster as “illegal” while the Panhellenic Journalists’ Union (POESY) called a five-hour protest walkout.

A bill foreseeing the creation of a new state broadcaster, to be known as NERIT, was approved by a parliamentary committee late on Tuesday.

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