Greek government shuts down state broadcaster, police force journalists out of the building

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38 Responses to “Greek government shuts down state broadcaster, police force journalists out of the building”

  1. Rindan says:

    Greece is so completely screwed.  Raise actual taxes collected and cutting  services just depresses the economy more than it already is, resulting in lower revenue.  There is probably an end to that cycle, but isn’t a pretty end.  The EU could pay off all of their debt tomorrow (it won’t) and they would still be screwed.  They spend far more than they take in.  Doing nothing is going to result in defaulting.  The EU will kick them out.

    A structured exit rather than getting the boot might work better.  Maybe if they had control over their money they could ease themselves out after much pain, but I am skeptical.  The debt they owe is in Euros and Dollars.  None of their debtors will accept a drachma, and for good reason.  

    The real problem is that Greece needs loans for their government to function and people willing to give them loans is rapidly vanishing, and those that remain demand a higher interest because no one trusts Greece to repay.  The money has to come from somewhere, and the cost of that money is going up and making the problem worse.

    The gradual winding down of the government, the rise of fascist, and all of this other nastiness has no easy solution.  These stories on Greece are tragic, but I have yet to hear anyone propose a solution that has a shred of political viability within the EU.

  2. Prentiz says:

    When a country catastrophically runs out of money, like Greece has, then bad things happen.  This is a pretty sad day for Greece, but what’s the alternative?  More cuts to health services, to welfare -when people are starving in the streets?  Greece cannot borrow more money because it’s spend so much for so long – what can they do?  That’s why every other country needs to work to balance its books to save money, so that tough choices like this can be avoided – the “austerity” that’s so often criticised on BoingBoing…

      • Prentiz says:

        OK – what would you do if you were the Greek PM.  Where exactly would you find the money for stimulus?  

        • First get out of the EU, nationalize all the banks, wipe clean all personal debt, nationalize any company with debts that can not be paid or are not willing to pay, create a new drachma and devalue it to promote exports, high taxes on higher earners and COLLECT them, guillotine the fuck of any bankster, vital resource hoarder, and corrupt politician.

          It is close to a communist state? Yes, mostly. Just remember what the goal is: no hunger and no unemployment.

          Fuck economy, it´s the people who we have to save.

          • Gilbert Wham says:

             Works for me.

          • Prentiz says:

            I don’t agree with you at all (except about Greece leaving the Euro) – but at least you’re honest about what you’d do.

          • MRmagoo says:

            the people would then revert to what they always do – vote only for corrupt politicians who do them “favours” for votes, hence increasing the black economy, increasing corruption, reducing state income, and blackmailing those who cannot afford to bribe to toady up to the oligarchy who can… communism failed and became a tyrannical state capitalism – some animals being more equal than others and enjoying the good life while the great unwashed queued up for anything on sale as, whatever it was, you needed it.

          • Gilbert Wham says:

             What, like in Iceland when they nationalised the banks & prosecuted the bankers? If there were breadlines, it’d be trumpeted from the rooftops, but there’s not, so we hear very little about their endeavours. What with them working and all.

          • Jason Lane says:

            Yup lets start prosecuting bankers, that’s were the real criminality and cause is.

          • Boundegar says:

            What? You haven’t heard about the gulags in Iceland? And the data mining, and the drone strikes, and the pepper spray…

          • Michael Walsh says:

            Guillotines are far easier to begin using than to stop using.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Well, you’re obviously not the head janitor at Syntagma Square.

          • cegev says:

            Greece already, to my understanding, has high taxes. People and corporations alike simply don’t pay them, and the government responds not by better enforcement but by raising taxes more and more, leading to a situation where taxes are too high for people to reasonably pay, but the government isn’t getting much money.

            Meanwhile, guillotine every corrupt politician in Greece, and you’ll end up with a purge far worse than the Terror. 

        • Jardine says:

          Invade the Cayman Islands, seize their banks.

        • Jason Lane says:

          Shutting down public in this way is most probably illegal, undemocratic.

          Also the hypocrisy that has been exhibited by the current Greek gov is beyond the pale. A corrupt gov like that of Greece should look to itself as the cause of their current problems.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Greece has plenty of money. It’s just all in the bank accounts of about a thousand people.

    • Dael says:

      actually “austerity” has never been shown to achieve any of those goals. not in governments, nor in business. fortunes cycle between contracting and expanding. if you cut when your fortunes are contracting, you limit your capacity to capitalise when they next expand. the correct response to a contraction in fortunes – in business, or government – is to invest in the source of value: people, health, jobs, services. 

      the overwhelming evidence is that when you do that, those people who are the beneficiaries of that investment generate value as a consequence. (do osme analysis on French productivity figures and the key drivers for those, to see this in action). the notional gains from “austerity” rest on the presumption that value is a finite entity, and that when there is little, you must hoard it. the the known world, value is not a finite entity – it’s merely the formal representation of activities and interrelationships. the stronger and healthier you make those interrelated activities, the more value emerges from them.  the emotional attraction of “austerity” rests on very Calvinistic foundations. the transformation of debt from a practical circumstance into a moral failing has made it easily manipulable in terms of “just desserts”, and “rewards” and “punishments”. the attraction for people wishing “austerity” on Greece has everything to do with the sense of some vague justice needing to be done, than it has with systems or economics, and mostly people need to see the punishment leg of the theology exercised, because that shores up their confidence in the rewards leg. 

      it’s nice , and it’s understandable, but it’s neither rational, nor meaningful in terms of making decisions about people’s lives. 

      • Boundegar says:

        It’s getting to where the evidence doesn’t matter. Suffering is valuable for its own sake, as long as it’s those people.

  3. Luther Blissett says:

    I’d like to get away from the austerity debate. Anyone familiar with the Greek media system?

    1) I heard that private stations don’t actually own licenses, but are rather ‘tolerated’ to broadcast. Is that true?

    2) Was Greek public broadcasting under political control? If not so, was it under a particular political influence? If not so, did they tend to take sides? If so, by/to whom?

    3) Is there independent broadcasting in Greece at the moment, except for external sources?

    4) Is it true that shutting down ERT was not decided in parliament (not only not debated, but also not voted on)? I read that the NEA DEMOKRATIA ‘decided’, how can they without a vote?

    That all asked, there is one last question: any imminent danger of 29. April 1967 repeating?

    • modeca says:

      As an Brit living in Athens for a year, I have an idea although not a complete understanding of how the media operates over here.

      In answer to your points:

      1) It’s true that there are a lot of ‘unlicensed’ private stations in Greece. But in general, the law in Greece is taken with a pinch of salt.  Everything from high level corruption, to building regulations, down to public smoking and driving offences – a lot of illegality gets ‘tolerated’ – it’s just part of the culture.

      2) ERT is government controlled( how else would they pull the plug on the whole network overnight) and ‘objective’ in the same way the BBC represents a sanitized version of the news.  But it’s far from a one-side propoganda machine. Only last week they broadcasted speeches from the opposition leader Tsipras for hours on end. 

      The private channels , SKAI in particular are more guilty of shady political influence, having recently chaired a panel show with Neo Nazi Golden Dawn MPs, a very sycophant presenter and no opposing speakers.

      3) There’s lot’s of independent broadcasting -  tune in at night and you’ll see some very bizarre programming – from shopping channels selling only rugs, shows about guns, no budget (literally two guys in a closet with a pair of headphones) music shows, to  an endless loop of softcore ads for what seems to be some kind of hotel/brothel.

      The commercial stations like SKAI and MEGA show American movies and cop shows, trashy Greek and Turkish soap operas and their own news programmes. These programs are heavily advertised, a 1.5 hour movie can take up to 3 hours once with all the ad breaks included.

      ERT, for all of it’s cronyism and corruption was the only non commercial broadcaster. It showed high quality documentaries on history, Greek culture and world issues; ad free sports coverage; some excellent radio stations (Cosmos 93.6 played an amazing mix of world music, reggae, electonica, pop etc), I could go on…. It may not have been perfect, but surely it’s a better alternative than a Murdoch view of mass media.

      4) The constitution allowed N.D. to close ERT without a vote or any further legal recourse. The aim was to aimed was to satisfythe bloodlust of the troika who set a deadline for 2000 public job cuts by the end of summer 2013.

      Instead of going after inefficiencies in the other 99% of the public sector, ND chose the softest of targets, the arts and the media, paving the way for more private contracts, along with the water, electricity and mining utilties that Greece has sold of in the last 3 years. Classic Shock Doctrine economics in action.

      With regards to 1967, you are not the only one to make the same observation. Economist Yanis Varoufakis described this latest measure on his blog yesterday…

      “For those of us who grew up in the Greece of the neo-fascist colonels, nothing can stir up painful memories like a modern act of totalitarianism. When the television screen froze last night, an hour before midnight, as if some sinister power from beyond had pressed a hideous pause button, I was suddenly transported to the 60s and early 70s when a disruption in television or radio output was a sure sign that another coup d’ etat was in the offing. The only difference was that last night the screen just froze; with journalists still appearing tantalisingly close to finishing their sentence. At least the colonels had the good sense of pasting a picture of the Greek flag, accompanied by military tunes…”

      • Luther Blissett says:

        Thanks a million. That’s a lot more background than I could find on  any old-new media outlet.

    • Aris says:

      1. Temporary licences were issued back in 1993 for private statios. An official bid was launched in 1997 however the offers were deemed to be incomplete and the bid was called to be unsuccessful. The private stations practically operate though the extensions to the 1993 temporary licenses
      2.  Public broadcasting is actually government broadcasting, in the sense that it favors the political party that elects the government. The official line however is that public broadcasting is unbiased (although this has been proven not to be the case many many times during the last 30 years…)
      3. None as far as TV and radio are concerned. Independent journalist operate only in press or internet having a really limited (financial) resources and are practically ignored from the mainstream private and public broadcasting.
      4. The leading party of the government coalition issued a Decision of Law Context that authorizes two of the government’s ministers to shut down a Public service at their will. The first Public service was Public Broadcasting…
      5. Are we talking about a military junta: not really. However, granted that actually he troika is the decision maker on the what policy should be followed, i seriously doubt this regime can be called a democracy… :S

    • Aris says:

      1. Temporary licences were issued back in 1993 for private statios. An official bid was launched in 1997 however the offers were deemed to be incomplete and the bid was called to be unsuccessful. The private stations practically operate though the extensions to the 1993 temporary licenses
      2.  Public broadcasting is actually government broadcasting, in the sense that it favors the political party that elects the government. The official line however is that public broadcasting is unbiased (although this has been proven not to be the case many many times during the last 30 years…)
      3. None as far as TV and radio are concerned. Independent journalist operate only in press or internet having a really limited (financial) resources and are practically ignored from the mainstream private and public broadcasting.
      4. The leading party of the government coalition issued a Decision of Law Context that authorizes two of the government’s ministers to shut down a Public service at their will. The first Public service was Public Broadcasting…
      5. Are we talking about a military junta: not really. However, granted that actually he troika is the decision maker on the what policy should be followed, i seriously doubt this regime can be called a democracy… :S

  4. Simos Nones says:

    1) Yes it is true, although illegal
    2) Yes , that was done by hiring people they can manipulate. It was every government’s voice when it was needed.
    3) At this moment, no
    4) Yes, the decision is not legal
    5) No, they tried to do that, everything was arranged by high ranked military authorities but they have been discovered some months ago and got taken cared.

  5. helloworld49 says:

    Is it coincidence that the ad below the article was for something called ‘Banana Republic’? I think not! 

  6. Charles-A Rovira says:

    By enforcing cost-cutting they have enforced cord-cutting.

    The new (N:M connecting) media is going to become the new (N:M broadcasting) media.

    Let the Greeks light the path of civilization once again.

  7. CocoBongo says:

     Every couch revolutionary is up in arms here today even though:
    a) they resisted any previous attempt at restructuring and cleaning up that mess of a party member parking lot called state tv. All reforms were swept away and that 300 mil. euro / year behemoth of spending kept going on as if we re not an already bankrupt country.
    b) the word Junta is tossed so easily nowadays. I mean, a dictatorship closes down its own state TV? Please, comrades sort it all in your minds.
    c) Hardly anyone watches those channels, their rates were always one digit and suddenly everyone wants to keep it as it was as if they would ever use their services. Even when they were on strike for days no one noticed (and they were still getting paid even though on strike).
    d) Of course it’s not closing down to become better, the current conservative head of the ruling coalition found a last minute solution to show some 2000+ public sector lay offs to the troika so we can continue receiving those tranches and throw them in the local black hole of public spending. After the storm passes, the new state tv will still be manned by party members and I do doubt it will even be slimmer in costs.

    So, the local public servants faced the unthinkable: repercussions to their inaction and corruption means actual layoffs of the public sector’s part that seems the most expendable at the time. We are still living on heavy foreign borrowing and now we are shocked that if we keep hiding it all under the rug and postponing all reforms we’ll keep on living like before.

    • Luther Blissett says:

      a) Point taken.
      b) Second one only in the part that the word ‘Junta’ is over the top; from what @boingboing-77280ebc778db1c2de24418ffeddff84:disqus wrote I take it that it wasn’t only state-approved content getting broadcasted.
      c) Argument is missing the point.  Rates are never a sign on quality. If you would say people did not trust the news and reporting on ERT, that would be a different point. (Did they trust it more than private stations? I Observe this in a lot of democratic countries, actually. The contrary is true in any authoritarian or near to ‘privately owned’ state.)
      d) Point taken.

      While “facing the unthinkable” seems to be a permanent state of mind in the whole Mediterranean region at the moment, I *never* observed any government shutting down broadcasters like this. Media is not sacrosanct to cost-cuts, but cutting the whole media itself is unheard of for a post-Gutenberg democracy. We’re talking about a part of the Fourth Estate here. Again, this boils down to one question:  whose news do you trust most?

  8. modeca says:

    Just another point. 

    All international stations – CNN, BBC and German channels have mysteriously disappeared from terrestrial broadcasting in Greece  since ERT has gone down.

    I’m not really a conspiracy theorist, but with none of the Greek commercial TV channels covering the blackout, what a lovely way to quell any dissent…..

    • Luther Blissett says:

       Anyone to confirm this, and give more background?

      • Simos Nones says:

        Yes, it is true. .
        They also shutdown every station that was re-broadcasting live signal from the state channel.
        I don’t have a link but I am Greek.

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