Bill on ‘new ERT’ goes to consultation

A draft bill foreseeing the reinstatement of former state broadcaster ERT, which was abruptly closed down in June 2013 by the previous conservative-led administration, was made available for public consultation on Monday ahead of its anticipated submission in Parliament from Thursday onward.

The bill is aimed at rehiring however many of some 2,000 dismissed ERT workers who would like their jobs back. But the hirings will not burden the state coffers as they will fall within budgeted public sector recruitments this year, the sources said. Around 500 people who moved from ERT to the current broadcaster NERIT after the former closed down are to keep their posts.

The operation of the reinstated ERT will be paid for through license fees, which are charged through electricity bills, the same sources added, noting that the fee would remain unchanged, at 3 euros a month.

Poor households that qualify for reduced electricity charges are to be exempt from the charge.

The new ERT will offer quality content, programs targeting Greece’s diaspora and will air coverage of major sporting events, according to sources.

Authorities are said to be determined to curb privileges and wasteful spending and ensure the new organization is subject to strict financial management.

The bill for the reinstatement of ERT originally had been due for submission in Parliament on Monday as government officials faced their eurozone counterparts for tough discussions on a proposed reform program.

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