Public service broadcasting in Greece in the era of austerity
Title: Public service broadcasting in Greece in the era of austerity
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2014/42; Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF)
In 2013 the Greek government closed down public broadcaster ERT and made its employees redundant as part of the latest public spending cuts imposed to meet the terms of the country’s bailout deal. In effect, this has left the commercially dominated Greek broadcasting landscape without a public channel and its citizens dependent on the private media sector for the provision of information, entertainment and education. One can rightly accuse ERT of lacking clear public interest objectives, overstaffing, bureaucracy, wastefulness and over-rewards for senior management, but its abrupt closure without consultation and a strategic plan is an attack on free speech and public space by the Greek government. ERT required restructuring, but not closing down. Public service broadcasters play a crucial role in producing and disseminating public service output that brings citizens together and enhances the educational and cultural aspect. This paper is concerned with analysing the reasons behind, and consequences of seizing a public service broadcaster such as ERT. After providing a background of the historical role and remit of ERT, the article focuses on the legal questions surrounding the Council of State decision regarding ERT’s closure. The final part examines the legality of ERT’s closure from the EU and ECHR perspective. The central argument is that the closure of a public channel limits pluralism and freedom of speech in a market-driven Greek economy.
Subject: Public service broadcasting; Media freedom; Pluralism; EU citizenship; ECHR
Type of Access: openAccess; openAccess