European Broadcasting Union steps in to keep the Greek national broadcaster on the air after police shut it down

Yesterday, the Greek government forcibly shut down the state broadcaster, ERT, sending in the police to drag journalists away from their microphones. The government claimed that the shutdown was the result of inescapable austerity measures. In response, the European Broadcasting Union -- an umbrella group representing public broadcasters across Europe -- has set up a makeshift mobile studio where ERT broadcasters can continue to work and stay on air.

This is being fed around Europe on an EBU satellite as part of its European news exchange operation and can be picked up by commercial stations in Greece but not the general public.

A spokesman for the EBU, which is headquartered in Geneva, said a "high-level meeting with a conference call" with the director general of ERT would take place later on Wednesday to decide on next steps.

Roger Mosey, the BBC's editorial director, who is on the EBU board told the Guardian: "We're watching events in Greece with great concern. When countries are in difficulty, there's an even bigger need for public service broadcasting and for independent, impartial news coverage. I hope that's restored in Greece as soon as possible."

The EBU spokesman said ERT staff in contact with the organisation have told them the power has not yet been cut by the government, but email servers have been taken down. They are now contacting the EBU through smartphones, using Facebook and personal email accounts.

"This is unprecedented, stations have closed and re-opened for a number of reasons, but never with such abruptness," said a spokesman for the EBU.

ERT shutdown: European Broadcasting Union sets up makeshift studio [Lisa O'Carroll/The Guardian]


  1. That must have caused shrieks of frustration in some underground villain’s lair.

  2. As a greek citizen unfortunately I cannot confirm that ERT had “independent, impartial news coverage”. Its news coverage is/was better presented than the greek private news networks but it was always the voice of the governmet as well as a place for elected officials to give well paid jobs and take votes and news coverage. There have also been rumors and strange coincideces of journalists shown the door or terminating their show for critisizing the government. 

    1.  This kind of answers my question (here) about trust in news. But could you specify: which would be the preferred news source in Greece? Who do you trust, in general? As far as trust in media goes, that is.

  3. Public broadcasting is always at risk from politicians. The Greeks should have learned their lesson from Big Bird/Mitt Romney

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