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IFJ/EFJ Call for Greek Government to Revoke Closure of Public Broadcaster

June 13, 2013

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and their Greek affiliates, the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists' Union (PFJU), the Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN), the Journalists' Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers (ESIEMTH) and the Periodical and Electronic Press Union (PEPU), have called on the Greek government to immediately revoke their unprecedented decision to close down its public broadcasting station ERT.

Yesterday the Greek government decided to shut down the public broadcasting organisation's three TV stations, radio and regional radio stations, satellite emissions and internet portal and will fire a staff of approximately 2,700 people, adding that it will re-open the organisation on a smaller scale and with fewer employees.

The government spokesperson, who is also the deputy minister in charge of media issues and is essentially the government official in charge of ERT, issued a statement where he asserted a ‘lack of transparency' as the reason for the public broadcaster's closure. PFJU has called on the private media to go on rolling 24-hour strikes starting immediately.

In a message to the journalists and media workers assembled at ERT last night, IFJ President, Jim Boumelha, said: "We are angry that you, your families and children, should be made to pay for a crisis that is not of your making. For many years, this crisis, caused by the greed and incompetence of bankers, businesses and politicians, have put at risk your standard of living, your wages and your pensions. Now it has taken away your livelihood.

"What happened to you breaks our hearts, it makes us angry but most of all makes us determined to fight alongside you. The message of the journalists of the world to your politicians and your bosses is loud and clear -- we will stand shoulder to shoulder with you to stop this madness. and we will do everything within our power to get this decision reversed."

EFJ President, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, said: "This decision is simply absurd. It will be a major blow to democracy, to media pluralism and to journalism as a public good in Greece, thus depriving citizens from their right to honest, level-headed and unbiased information. But it will also mean the loss of many journalists' jobs across the country.

"It is unacceptable to cut jobs at ERT and to privatize the public media in Greece. Public regional stations cannot be substituted by any corporate interest.

"The EFJ reminds the Greek government that the High Level Group on media, set up by the European Commission, recommends that 'there should be a provision of state funding for media which are essential for pluralism."

The IFJ/EFJ have backed the calls from unions for the plans to be abolished and called for collaboration and discussion between the parties involved. They are calling on the government to immediately abandon all plans to abolish public broadcasting and instead collaborate with the institutional bodies of the journalism community in order to strengthen information as a public good.

They are also calling on all parliamentarians to coordinate their actions in order to avert any plans that harm the democratic rights of the communities who voted for them.

The IFJ/EFJ are calling on member unions to send messages of support to:;,,

EFJ delegates, meeting in Cyprus to promote diversity in the media, issued a statement, with support of participants, to express their "indignation and shock of the brutal closure of the public broadcasting service in Greece". To view the statement click here: Protest TV grecque.docx They have also signed a petition calling for the government to reversie its decision, which is being sent to the Greek embassy in Cyprus:

IFJ/EFJ Spanish affiliate, Federación de Servicios a la Ciudadania de CC.OO (FSC-CC.OO), have expressed solidarity with the workers at ERT and published a statement of support: Comunicado Sector Cierre ERT Griega ENG.doc Staff from RTVE organised a protest at its headquarters in Madrid this monring to show their suppor

IFJ/EFJ affiliate Ver.di, in Germany, have also issued a statement supporting the workers: 1206_ERT-SchließungGriechenland.pdf

And support has also come from IFJ/EFK Italian affiliate, FNSI:

In the UK, the NUJ has condemned the closure of the public broadcaster:

The Executive Boards of PFJU and the other unions, POSPERT and POEPTYM, decided on nonstop striking mobilization of journalists, technicians and staff employees in all public and private broadcasting media by declaring 24 hour repetitive strikes. The strike in all private broadcasting media, as well as public news agency APE-MPE and the General Directorate of Information, will start at 6am on 12th June 2013. The strike on print media, newspapers and magazines will start at 6am on Thursday 13 June 2013.

A strike tomorrow has been announced by the General Confederation of Greek Workers. There will also be a major protest held outside the premises of ERT tomorrow at 11.00 (GR time - 12.00 BRU time).

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: + 32 2 235 22 17


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