Deputy minister defends fee for off-air Greek broadcaster

Deputy Culture Minister Pantelis Kapsis, who is in charge of public broadcasting, on Thursday defended the government’s decision to start charging for the new state TV and radio service, NERIT, even though it is not on air yet.

A monthly 3-euro charge has been added to electricity bills to cover the cost of NERIT.

Although the charge is more than 25 percent less than what taxpayers paid for ERT, the public broadcaster shut down in June, there was criticism yesterday that the government is asking Greeks to pay it even though NERIT has not begun broadcasting yet.

Only an interim service, known simply as Public Television (DT), is presently available.

“The most essential issue is that NERIT’s budget and operational costs in 2014 will be 100 million euros, compared to the 240 million that ERT cost us,” said Kapsis.

He said that NERIT needs the revenues from now in order to organize its programming.

Kapsis was also adamant that DT would do an efficient job of covering Greece’s European Union presidency.

“All the team has worked very hard and the equipment has been installed at Zappeio Hall, where the television coverage of the presidency will take place,” he said.

“I believe Greece will get top marks in this area.”

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