On June 11th 2013, the Greek public state broadcaster ERT was closed as an austerity measure.
It was a Tuesday afternoon when I returned from work. From the morning on I had heard rumors, the government intended to close the ERT (the Hellenic public television). Which fool would believe such nonsense I wondered as I walked on the street and listened to the radio. Few hours later Simos Kedikoglou, a government representative, made his appearance on our television sets and he announced the closure of ERT. The threat became a reality when in the evening the starting signal fell and it gave me the creeps. I still remember the feelings I had after the second coup of Antonis Samaras.
Immediately I went to the headquarters of state television. Already a lot of people had gathered outside the building. I stayed there until dawn. On other days I remained in the yard of the building.
The second big shock came the day when the police burst into the station to expel all of the ERT’s discharged employees . On the same day a lot of people gathered outside the building to attend the historic first “newscast of the road”, which was seen by 1,250,000 viewers through the internet.
Closing the ERT for a long time, the right-wing regime of Samara forces us (those who prefer to be informed only of the TV) to receive nothing but Greek private and government-friendly channels.
One year after the second coup of Antonis Samaras, all the lies which the right-wing New Democracy party told us in order to justify the fascist black that filled our television screens, were confirmed.
A year later we have no independent national television. It is not much more economic and there all but more transparency. On our tv-sets we watch the same journalists who had abused their profession with the propaganda journalism of the ERT, those who had forced the Greek people to turn their backs to history channel state, ignoring the great broadcasts hosted (even though it was after midnight). Those journalists, without having beside them their objective counterparts (to be a political and information balance on the TV screen), continue their destructive work of propaganda and scaremongering to intimidate the Greek people.
Also a year later, the state has not compensated the redundant employees of ERT and it has recorded twelve suicides by the closure of the channel.
The bad news is that Europe now recognizes the new Samara’s monstrosity as a state channel for news and information. But Europeans are unaware that the experiment of Greece has already started in other countries such as Portugal, England, Germany and Spain, wherever there has been a reduction, a cropping or closing of a broadcasting service in public interest, putting it off the market and from competing with other public broadcasters. The only difference is that in Greece it was performed the mafia way while in the rest of Europe it is applied with a more refined model.
Nevertheless ERT continues to exist, through the online project ERT-Open. Greeks did not forget the coup in which the government attempted to erase the countries historic broadcasting tradition in one night. The ERT-Open is the personification of Greek democracy which has been flattened but still fights to stay alive.
We are her breath.
We must continue to support their employees, freedom fighters for the ERT and everyone else in its favour.
We have to remember the 11th of June. It is the darkest day of contemporary Greek history.
Photo Credit: ΠάνοςΤ via photopin cc