THE GREEK GOVERNMENT is closing down the country’s national broadcaster in a dramatic bid to continue its cutbacks in public spending.
The public broadcaster, the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) will be shut at midnight tonight, for a three-month outage.
The broadcaster will then be revived with a dramatically downsized workforce.
A government spokesman announced the plans to shut down the station on the broadcaster’s main TV channel, saying the broadcaster had a “characteristic opacity” and a “huge fortune” which meant it needed immediate closure.
It said it was not clear how many of the broadcaster’s 2,800 workers might be rehired when the broadcaster opened again.
Greece’s English-language newspaper Kathimerini reported that a legislative decree had been published in Greece’s national government gazette, which allowed for public enterprises to be dramatically restructured in order to rein in public spending.
The broadcaster runs three nationwide TV channels, as well as a satellite channel aimed at Greek expatriates, a HD channel and a channel of Greek parliamentary affairs. `
It also broadcasts four national radio stations, focussing on news, pop music, classical music and sport, and 19 regional stations, as well as an international station broadcast over short wave for an international audience.
Part of the terms of Greece’s EU-IMF lending package require it to lay off 15,000 public staff in the next year-and-a-half, with 2,000 of those jobs to be cut by Christmas.