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

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:

info@poesy.gr; info@esiemth.gr, info@esiea.gr, dralli@esiea.gr

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: http://bit.ly/172lOkP

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: http://www.fnsi.it/Esterne/Fvedinews.asp?AKey=15591

In the UK, the NUJ has condemned the closure of the public broadcaster: http://www.nuj.org.uk/innerPagenuj.html?docid=2950

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).

Statements of support for workers at ERT have also been made by other unions across the world:

- Statement of UNI-MEI
- Statement of the EBU


For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries