NEWS published on 13 Jun 2013

EBU demands European Commission take a stand for ERT

The president of the EBU has written to the president of the European Commission to request he "personally support" efforts to restore the transmission services of ERT – Greece's public service broadcaster.

In a strongly worded letter, EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot told José Manuel Barroso the European Commission should take a "clear stand to defend European values" following Tuesday's abrupt closure of the station, which has shocked the public broadcasting community, journalists and civil society across Europe.

"We understand that it is up to the Member States concerned to choose concrete restructuring measures with regard to their public sector," said Mr Philippot. "However it is our unfortunate experience that the existence of public service broadcasting has come under systematic threat in countries which have been pressed by the European Union or the troika to make savings."

Mr Philippot added that the closure of ERT deprived Greek citizens, during a challenging period of radical transformation, of a public sphere in which to foster and express democratic debate, and urged Mr Barroso to get personally involved.

Journalists have remained on air with the help of the EBU, which has taken ERT's output and is streaming the service live on its website.