Greek broadcaster ERT back on the air but still set to shrink


Thousands of demonstrators gather outside the Greek public television and radio broadcaster ERT headquarters in Athens northern suburb, after Greece's government announced on June 11, 2013 the immediate closure of ERT in a move that reportedly affects about 2,700 jobs. Hundreds rushed to the main premises of ERT in the northern Athens suburb of Agia Paraskevi to show their support, shortly after the announcement made by government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou.



Greek public broadcaster ERT was ordered reopened by a Greek court Tuesday, days after the government shut it down.

The court upheld the government's plan to downsize and cut the number of staff at the state-sponsored network.

ERT was abruptly closed less than a week ago by the conservative government led by Antonis Samaras.

The sudden end of ERT shocked the public and saw the loss of 2,700 jobs.

The right-leaning New Democracy Party claimed that the network cost the government the equivalent of $400 million per year, but only accounted for 4 percent of Greek television viewers.

ERT was also ridiculed widely among Greeks as a hotbed of corruption and nepotism.

More from GlobalPost: Greece cuts state broadcaster to save money

In an act of defiance, journalists at ERT continued their programming using internet live streaming.

The move to close ERT was part of austerity measures designed to placate foreign lenders, as well as the so-called "troika" made up of the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB).

The closure of the network produced talk of early elections after left-leaning parties demanded the station be reopened.

The court order gives the ruling coalition of right- and left-wing parties time to negotiate ERT's future. Both parties claimed a victory after the legal decision.

In a demonstration in Greece's Syntagma Square in front of the parliament, radical leftist leader Alexis Tsipras called Samaras the "great Napoleon of bailouts."

"But he didn't see, nor did he predict, the Waterloo that ERT workers and the great majority of people prepared for him," Tsipras went on to tell his supporters, according to the Guardian.