Euro pubcaster chiefs demand ERT is restored

Euro pubcastersFifty European pubcaster bosses have demanded the Greek government reverses its decision to shutter national broadcaster ERT.

France Televisions’ Remy Pflimlin, DR’s Maria Rørbye Rønn, ZDF’s Thomas Bellut, Rai’s Anna Maria Tarantola, the BBC’s Tony Hall and RTVE’s Leopoldo Gonzalez Echenique are among the signatories (above) of an open letter to Greek officials issued through the European Broadcasting Union slamming the closure.

“We, as directors general of Europe’s public broadcasters, express our profound dismay at the action taken by the Greek Government on Tuesday, 11 June in shutting down ERT with immediate effect,” their statement read.

“This undemocratic and unprofessional action of the Greek government undermines the existence of public service media in Greece and its independence from the government.”

They “strongly” urged Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to “immediately reverse” the decision and added they “wholeheartedly support the open letter sent by the EBU president and director general on 11 June”.

In other developments, EBU president Jean-Paul Phillppot has written to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso to take a “clear stand to defend European values” and oppose the closure of ERT, which came at the cost of around 2,700 jobs and the first closure of a European pubcaster since the Second World War.

ERT staff continues to broadcast from their studios via an online stream, which the EBU has been retransmitting from its homepage.