Greek parliament votes to re-open public televsion

GMT 06:10 2015 Wednesday ,29 April

Arab Today, arab today Greek parliament votes to re-open public televsion

Greece's public TV employees broadcast Web-TV signal from control room of ERT headquarters
Athens - AFP

Greece's parliament voted on Tuesday to re-open the country's public broadcaster ERT, which was shut down two years ago by the previous government to reduce debts.

The reinstatement of the channel -- which was replaced by a scaled down version named Nerit -- was one of the election promises of the new government under the radical leftists Syriza, who have been in power for three months.

The previous conservative-led government in July 2013 shut down the TV station and fired some 2,600 people in order to meet layoff quotas laid down by Greece's international creditors.

Its sudden closure after more than 60 years on the air shocked even austerity-hardened Greeks, provoked numerous demonstrations and was condemned internationally.

The bill on the ERT drew support from the radical left coalition government and Greek Independents, with the main opposition right party New Democracy voting against the legislation.

It will see the return of the broadcaster's name to ERT, and provides for the reintegration of 1,550 former employees if they so wish. Hundreds of workers retired after its closure, while others were hired by Nerit.

According to media reports, 2,300 people would form the new ERT.

The law states that the cost of the broadcaster was 60 million euros a year and would be covered by fees set at three euros a month.

A year after the ERT's closure, it was rebranded as Nerit under pressure from the European Broadcasting Union and Greece's top administrative court, with a smaller budget and 500 employees.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had vowed to re-open ERT, which had been criticised in the past as bloated, to "repair a crime against Greek people and democracy".



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