Greece

Published on June 11th, 2013 | by Kostas Kallergis

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Coffee or Tea? closing down the Greek Radio & TV

The Greek government spokesman announced some minutes ago, all of a sudden, that the Greek Radio & Television will stop broadcasting as of tonight, midnight. In a pretentiously sturdy press conference he explained the reasons why the government came to this crazy decision.

Simos Kedikoglou gave the public a long list of scandalous characteristics that made ERT, the public bradcaster, a loss-making institution. Among others he mentioned:

  • ERT is a non-transparent organization
  • ERT has too many employees
  • Exaggerated benefits for its employees who register too many overtime working hours
  • Huge amounts of money spent on private production companies for productions that could be made internally and more cheaply
  • Obsolete trade union agreements that oblige tv crews to be composed by tens of technicians rather than one or two persons
  • ERT is publishing a magazine that has no readers
  • ERT maintains tens of regional radio stations that most of the time broadcast the same programme

He didn’t mention that consecutive Greek governments, both of PASOK (a member of the current governing coalition) and New Democracy (head of the current governing coalition), have hired their voters to work there. The same government made sure to appoint ERT’s head and made nothing to punish any lack of transparency (not to say that it suited them very well to spend ERT’s tax-payer money in a non-transparent way). He did not mention that most production companies who signed contracts with ERT had a “connection” with someone at the government. ERT was notorious for being a “you need a connection for this” organization.

And what happens now? Will Greece stay without a public television?

Of course not you silly readers! The Greek government will create the same monster. The government outrageously underestimates the public intelligence – the reasons were economic but the solution will cost (and will keep on costing) millions of euros.

First of all, Kedikoglou announced that all employees will be fired and compensated according to the law. The government will create a new Radio & Television organization which will be manned by new and some old employees. Let me tell you what this means. The government will fire everybody, will spend millions in compensations, it will then rehire the loyal New Democracy voters and will complete the picture by some more partisans.

I sincerely hope I’m proved wrong but I honestly think that there is no one who really trusts what the government is trying to do.

Prime Minister Samaras has been desperately trying lately to convince foreign countries and investors that Greece is a stable and safe country to invest. The facts have proved him wrong repeatedly. Bureacracy and the constant change of the taxing system are among the top reasons why no one wants to invest in Greece. Because no one can know when or if the investment will pay back. It’s the same sketchiness with ERT. This morning no one spoke of a possibility that ERT will close down. And all of a sudden the government decides to close it down. With no apparent real and rational plan of what comes next. As a decision to a simple dilemma. Coffee or tea?



About the Author

(Greece) is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Greece. He has been working in media for the past 10 years and has been blogging about the Greek crisis since 2011. He detests ouzo. His email address is kostas.kallergis@gmail.com



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