IFJ Urges Action on Court's Order to Restore Public Broadcaster in Greece

A court in Athens yesterday suspended the government's decision of last week to shut down the country's public broadcaster after ERT was abruptly taken off air on Tuesday 11 June 2013.

The media workers at ERT challenged the decree before the Council of State, Greece's highest administrative court which suspended the decision to cease ERT transmissions and to switch off its frequencies. It ordered the programmes to continue but also upheld the plan of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to replace ERT with a smaller broadcaster, according to media reports.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group, the Federation of European Journalists (EFJ) today welcomed the ruling to continue public broadcast services, pending the planned reforms and urged the Greek authorities to implement the decision with immediate effect.

"This ruling has vindicated the magnificent fight back by ERT journalists and media workers which had a huge resonance within Greece and throughout the world. They have been at the forefront of the battle against the diktats by the troika in order to safeguard their jobs and livelihood as well as to defend public service values and the continuity of public service," said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. 
"It is crucial that the IFJ and its member unions worldwide continue to remain mobilised in unison behind their Greek colleagues to help them win their fight for a well-resourced, impartial and independent public broadcaster".

The IFJ and EFJ affiliates in Greece, the Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Newspapers, the Journalists' Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers, the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists' Union (PFJU) and the Periodical and Electronic Press Union (PEPU) said they look forward to the implementation of the court's ruling for interim resumption of programmes.

Following the court's decision, the government is now expected to propose the format of the interim public broadcaster but IFJ affiliates support keeping the status of ERT and call for dialogue with workers' representatives to negotiate the future of the public broadcaster in Greece.

The two federations have underscored the decisive contribution of their Greek affiliates and journalists at the ERT in opposing the shutdown of ERT, describing their commitment as a shining model of solidarity action.

"Their determination to fight for journalism as a public good earned them goodwill and solidarity from their colleagues across Europe and beyond," added Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, EFJ President. "We now need to build on this development by ensuring they have a seat on the table during negotiations on the future of public broadcasting in Greece and that the Greek Government would not abuse this Court's decision by trying to create an interim broadcaster that is not up to the standards that such a public service should apply."

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries