MEMBERS NEWS published on 16 Jun 2013 • Department / Unit TV Radio News Communications

Messages of support for ERT

The sudden closure last week (11/6) of ERT's TV and radio channels has been roundly criticized by institutions both in Europe and around the world.

Organizations including the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and press associations have issued expressions of shock and condemnation, bolstering the statement of condemnation signed by the EBU and more than 50 Directors General of its European membership  including the BBC, ARD, ZDF, Rai, RTVE, RTBF and France Télévisions.

The EBU has also been inundated with emails of from individuals and support for its online petition has reached tens of thousands.


European Parliament - Overnight closure of ERT by Greek government ‘antidemocratic’

Brussels, 19 June - Yesterday, members of the European Parliament’s Culture Committee meeting in Brussels joined voices to heavily criticise the Greek government’s sudden decision to close ERT last week, while welcoming Monday’s court ruling to restore the national broadcaster to air immediately.

“It’s not possible in one country to close a broadcaster from one day to another”, said Committee Chair Doris Pack. “We need to talk about the actions of a government which are not acceptable in a democracy.”  Read More...

Council of Europe - Statement of the Secretary General on the closure of the Greek public broadcaster ERT

 “I encourage the Greek government to accept the European Broadcasting Union’s offer of advice and assistance necessary to ensure ERT becomes a true public broadcaster corresponding to Council of Europe standards for public service media. 

I recall the importance of public broadcasting for ensuring media pluralism and diversity of views within a democratic society. I am concerned about the abrupt manner in which the Greek public broadcaster has been shut down.
 
I acknowledge the need to remedy the shortcomings of ERT, but this can, and should be achieved without a discontinuation of public broadcasting in Greece, even if it is only a temporary one.“ Read More...

L'Appel du Châtelet pour la Grèce - ελληνικά

Paris, le 18 juin 2013 - L’indépendance de l’information, le pluralisme des opinions et la liberté de la culture sont des principes démocratiques élémentaires. Toute atteinte autoritaire à ces droits fondamentaux est un crime contre la démocratie, sa vitalité, sa diversité et sa créativité.

C’est pourquoi toutes les démocraties ont construit des services publics de l’audiovisuel, financés par l’impôt et au service des citoyens. Leur existence doit être une protection contre la soumission de l’information et de la culture aux seules logiques économiques, de profit et de rentabilité.

Quels qu’en soient les arguments, la décision prise, le 11 juin 2013, par le gouvernement grec de fermer, du jour au lendemain, les radios et les télévisions publiques est une violation de ces principes, indigne d’une démocratie. C’est une violation de plus des valeurs politiques constitutives de l’Union européenne.

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OSCE - Closure of public service broadcaster could endanger media pluralism in Greece

VIENNA, 12 June 2013 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic', warned today that the closure of Greece’s public service broadcaster, ERT, could deprive citizens of a diversity of views, and it creates economic hardship for the dismissed journalists.

“Public service broadcasting plays an indispensable role in a country’s democracy. It is the only information source that by law has the obligation to provide objective news and unbiased information to citizens,” Mijatovic' said.

She noted that the closure of ERT raises concerns about who will now perform this essential role in Greece.

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Jean Philip De Tender (VRT) chairman TV Committee :

"Together with the TV Committee I would like to give my full support to all employees of ERT and to the Greek audience. It is absolutely necessary in the media ecosystem to have a full independant player. Only public service media can guarantee that both short and long term quality, trusted sourcing and diversity will remain on the agenda."

The Greek Documentary Association - All together we will attempt to erase this shame

We the filmmakers, who through the public TV station, have been challenging, entertaining, or disturbing you with our documentaries by highlighting "the other side" of reality, condemn the sudden silencing of ERT based once again on "an act within legal context" which for all intents and purposes bypasses the parliamentary procedure.

This act has no historical precedent during a democracy in a time of peace! Such an act, furthermore, aligns itself with the general degradation of education and civilization, which has systematically been taking place in our country, devaluing the only investment that in the long term could lead to a better society.

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Joint Opinion by the EU Audiovisual Sector Social Dialogue Committee - Download

The EU Audiovisual Sector Social Dialogue Committee (AVSDC) expresses profound dismay at reports that the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) has been shut down. We call upon the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras to immediately reverse this decision. We further call on the European Commission to use its powers within its competences to support the continuation of all the components of public service media in Greece – the ‘cradle of democracy’.

The audiovisual sector is both a practical resource and a primary source of information, culture and entertainment across the EU. Because of this it has a special significance in the protection and promotion of fundamental freedoms and democracy across the member states of the EU. The co-existence of public and commercial organisations serves to create a diverse range of programming. It contributes to media pluralism, cultural and linguistic diversity, editorial competition as well as freedom of expression and the public’s right to information.

Greek Public Broadcasting belongs to the Greek People - Download

Today the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and UNI Global Union Media Entertainment & Arts (UNI-MEI) together with their member organizations in Belgium expressed their solidarity with the Greek journalists, media workers and citizen who are fighting for the independent of the public media in Greek and resist the closure of the public broadcaster ERT.

At a rally outside the Greek Embassy in Belgium the organizations applauded the Greek of the journalists and media workers unions and called on called on Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, to reverse this incomprehensible and dangerous decision immediately. IFJ and UNI want ERT back on the air and the rights of the journalists and media workers respected. Any reform of the ERT needs to be based on dialogue with the workers and their representative organisations.

IFJ General Secretary, Beth Costa, said: This decision is simply absurd. It will be a major blow to democracy, to media pluralism and to journalism as a public good in Greece, thus depriving citizens from their right to honest, level-headed and unbiased information. But it will also mean the loss of journalist’s jobs across the country.

Communiqué de presse des chaines de service public francophones -  Télécharger

12 juin 2013 - Les  chaines  de  service  public  francophones  réunies  ce  jour,  à  l'occasion  du  conseil  d'administration  de  TV5MONDE  sous  la  présidence  de  Rémy  Pflimlin,  apportent  leur  soutien  plein  et  entier  au  service  public  audiovisuel  grec  dont  l'arrêt  brutal  et  imprévisible, choque profondément l'ensemble de ses membres.

Le conseil rappelle son attachement à la place de la Télévision Publique, seule garante  de  l'indépendance  de  l'information  et  véhicule  de  l'exception  culturelle  défendue  aujourd'hui par les parlements européens.

Axel Arnö (SVT)  as chairman of the Eurovision Documentary Group

"As chairman of the Eurovision Documentary Group, I wish to underline herewith, with the support of my colleagues working for European Public Service Media, that Only Public Service Media can guarantee free, independent, accurate and diverse information for citizens through all factual programming: news, of course, but also magazines and documentary films which reflect in depth the variety and complexity of our contemporary world. That's why we, as documentary commissioning editors, filmmakers, heads of acquisitions, and as citizens, find the decision to shut down ERT with immediate effect absolutely unacceptable. Citizens have the right to independent, pluralistic information, as well as programming that promote democratic and human values. It is the obligation of any government to guarantee this through Public Service Media."

Support for ERT from Turab Rzayev, ICTIMAI - Azerbaijan Public Television

Public Broadcasting and its independence is an important part of the democratic societies. In this contest the independence and availability of PSM to various segments of population should be granted through European countries.

However, the decision by the Greek government was unexpected for all of us and we were outraged by the latest events related to ERT. This is a brutal act against ERT, which is one of the first founder members of European Broadcasting Union, who have provided more than 50 years public service media and it is pity that such an abrupt decision about public service media was given in the homeland of democracy and pluralistic ideas.

BNT and BNR voice solidarity with the dismay and the disappointment expressed by the European broadcasting community. Both Bulgarian national public service media flatly insist on asserting and observing the rights of the Greek citizens to access to objective information.

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Greece statement - International Press Association

The International Press Association (API) considers the closure of the Greek public broadcaster, ERT, and the summary dismissal of its 2,656 staff to be indefensible and calls on the European Union institutions to demand an immediate reversal of the decision.

API, which represents Brussels based international correspondents, welcomes the Commission statement saying it “supports the role of public broadcasting as an integral part of European democracy”. Considering this and the protocol in the Treaty of Amsterdam that states “the system of public broadcasting in the Member States is directly related to the democratic, social and cultural needs of each society and to the need to preserve media pluralism”, the Commission has a duty to act in this case.

Claims that the Greek broadcaster cost substantially more than similar bodies in other member states or that it was part of a clientilist system operated by some Greek political parties do not justify the action. The indiscriminate accusation that hundreds of journalists working at ERT were mere political cronies constitutes unsubstantiated and dangerous populism. It should be noted that ERT has been widely praised in Greece for its high quality documentaries and investigative reporting.

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Audio Message from Ms Sinia Koussoula, Director of International Affairs (ERT)

Transmitted by URTI (International Radio and Television Union)

English French

Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio - DOWNLOAD

The Bulgarian National Television /BNT/ and the Bulgarian National Radio /BNR/ concur with the position expressed by the European Broadcasting Union /EBU/ on the decision of the Greek government to shut down the Greek Radio and Television /ERT/.

BNT and BNR voice solidarity with the dismay and the disappointment expressed by the European broadcasting community. Both Bulgarian national public service media flatly insist on asserting and observing the rights of the Greek citizens to access to objective information.

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EBU Bruges Group

The Executive Committee of Bruges Group - the EBU group of European Public International Broadcasters - expresses its solidarity with ERT's colleagues. For the Bruges Group, the sudden interruption of ERT's transmissions is an extreme decision that affects not only Greeks living in Greece, but also all the Greeks living abroad and their right to be connected with their Country of origin.

The Public Television service is an essential part of the European social model and the Bruges Group hopes that the ERT's domestic and international broadcasts will soon be available again for their audiences.

Plötzliche Schließung des öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunks in Griechenland - DOWNLOAD

Doris Pack, Mitglied des Europäischen Parlaments, Vorsitzende des Ausschusses für Kultur und Bildung : "Regierung muss Entscheidung rückgängig machen" Reformbedarf ist unstrittig / Schließung aber "völlig unverhältnismäßig" Nach der Schließung der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalt ERT durch die griechische Regierung äußerte sich Doris Pack (EVP), Vorsitzende des für Medienpolitik zuständigen Kulturausschusses, bestürzt: "Nicht alles, was legal ist, ist auch legitim. Und diese Maßnahme ist es mit Sicherheit nicht. Dieselben Politiker, die die Aufblähung des Personals mit betrieben haben, sprechen nun von Geldverschwendung.

Auf dem Rücken der Journalisten und der gesamten Öffentlichkeit wollen sie nun offenbar Entscheidungsstärke demonstrieren", so Doris Pack.

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Board Chairman - Estonian Public Broadcasting

Eesti Rahvusringhääling (Estonian Public Broadcasting) is extremely concerned about the Greek government’s decision as of 11 June 2013 to shut down the public broadcaster ERT with immediate effect and without any preliminary discussions in the Parliament, a prerequisite in a democracy.

This undemocratic and thoroughly unprofessional decision by the Greek government has destroyed the public service broadcaster’s most important principle in democracy and by that we have in mind the independence of the public service media from the government.

Eesti Rahvusringhääling supports the common statement by EBU Members, which will be sent to the Greek Prime Minister. In this statement we must demand the immediate reverse of this decision allowing ERT to go back on the air.

Margus Allikmaa
Chairman of the Board
Estonian Public Broadcasting

EBU News Committee

The EBU has already expressed its support to ERT after its sudden closure by the Greek government, but the EBU News Committee also wants to add its voice and defend the importance of Public Service Media for democratic society. Only Public Service Media can guarantee a free, independent, accurate and diverse information for citizens. That's why we, not only as journalists but also as citizens, find the decision to shut down ERT with immediate effect, to be a big mistake that we have to try to reverse. Citizens have the right to independent, pluralistic information, as well as programming that promotes human values, and it is the obligation of any government to guarantee this through Public Service Media. 

EBU News Committee members endorsing the statement:

Chair

Asun Gomez-Bueno (TVE, Spain)

Vice-chairs

Benoit Balon-Perin (RTBF, chairman of the News Technology Subcommittee)
Gudrun Gutt (ORF, chairman of the Editorial Subcommittee)
Sarah Ward-Lilley (BBC)

Members

Grazyna Baczynska (TVP)
Geertje Bal (VRT)
Oznur Cakir Dogan (TRT)
Morana Kasapovic (HRT)
Reijo Lindroos (YLE)
Cathy Milner (RTE)
Ingrid Thörnqvist (SVT)
Gerard Van den Broek (NOS)
Michael Wegener (ARD)

Moschos Voitsidis, President of the Journalists Union of Macedonia and Thrace - Download

The signatories, meeting in Cyprus to promote diversity in the media, have learned with indignation and shock of the brutal closure of the public broadcasting service in Greece.

The signatories demand that the Greek government reverse this decision without delay. Public broadcasting is a precondition of pluralism and of the quality of TV and radio programmes.

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Fermeture d'ERT: l'appel silencieux d'un condamné à mort - Download

Strasbourg- La Présidente de l'Intergroupe Services publics du Parlement européen s'insurge contre la décision funeste du gouvernement grec.

Pour Françoise Castex, Députée Européenne, "alors que l'Union européenne semble enfin prête à exclure la culture et l'audiovisuel des négociations de l'accord de libre-échange avec les Etats-Unis, elle doit aller jusqu'au bout de cette logique et défendre la pérennité du service audiovisuel public dans les 27".

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Communication 12.06 from  RTP Board of Directors - Download

All European public media were surprised by yesterday’s abrupt and unexpected decision of the Greek Government to close ERT.

RTP’s Board of Directors, voicing the feeling of all those who work and in public service media in Portugal, Europe and the world, in solidarity with ERT and those who have provided public service media in Greece for more than 50 years.

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RTV Slovenija's Open Letter in Support of ERT

Public broadcasting is an important asset of European democracy. In a time of crisis, which we are all aware of, all public media are streamlining their activities. Nevertheless, we are still doing our utmost to accomplish our mission.

Therefore, we have been outraged by the latest events associated with ERT in Greece, a country that is the cradle of European democracy and culture.

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Media unions worldwide oppose closure of Greek public broadcaster ERT – a call for resistance - Download

UNI MEI Global Union joins all workers at the Greek public broadcaster ERT and their trade union POSPERT in their protest over the immediate closure of ERT.

In response to the demands of the Troika asking for further dismissals in the Greek public service the Finance Minister abused emergenc y powers to stop ERT’s transmissions and shut down all public and TV stati ons in Greece as of today.

We call on Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, to reve rse this incomprehensible and dangerous decision immediately, said EURO-MEI Presi dent William Maunier (SNRT-CGT, France).

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AIPS EUROPE in solidarity with ERT employees - Download

Lausanne, 11.06.2013 - The Executive Committee of AIPS EUROPE–representing national sports journalists associations from 48 countries is in solidarity with our fellow colleagues in Greece who as from today will be facing serious employment problems. This is the result after a degrading notice the broadcasting government spokesman Mr.Simos Kedikoglou announced the sudden death of ERT.

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Federation of European Film Directors - Download

All democracies need a plurality of media voices if they are to survive: Greece, the mother of European democracy, is no exception. In these difficult times Creece needs its public broadcaster more than ever, if consensus and hope are to be found.

The Greek people are also entitled to continuity of news, film and audiovisual culture, which a functioning ERT can provide. Its film makers must not be arbitrarily prevented from making films and programmes. Culture and free speech are not merely optional; without them democracy will wither away.

To reform ERT may be necessary, but to close it is a dangerous and destructive step into authoritarianism. The film directors of Europ, through FERA, urge Prime Minister Samaras to work now with all parties, and all people of good will, to bring this precious national asset back to life without delay.

 

 

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