Closure of public service broadcaster could endanger media pluralism in Greece, warns OSCE media freedom representative
VIENNA, 12 June 2013 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, 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,” Mijatović said.
She noted that the closure of ERT raises concerns about who will now perform this essential role in Greece.
“Having access to unbiased news is especially important in difficult times. I urge the authorities to ensure the immediate establishment of the new public broadcaster, guaranteeing its full editorial, financial and political independence.”
On the evening of 11 June the government suddenly shut down the three TV channels and radio services of ERT.
“Such an important decision should have been taken in consultation with all stakeholders, including media professionals and civil society,” Mijatović said.
Mijatović also criticized the immediate dismissal of close to three thousand employees.
“The authorities should have rather gradually restructured the public broadcaster, especially as they announced that they would resume operations at a later date. Shutting down the services overnight also left viewers without a public service broadcaster.”