When in June 2013 the Greek government closed down ERT, the public broadcaster, the EBU was at the forefront of international protests against this measure, which was perceived as an unprecedented blow to media freedom and pluralism in Europe.
Almost 5 years later, the case is now before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The ERT trade union POSPERT, led by its president Mr Kalfagiannis, applied to the Court, claiming that the closure of ERT was a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, i.e., freedom of expression and information. Their case is largely based on the study commissioned by the EBU at the time of ERT's closure, Public service media under Art. 10 of the ECHR, by Austrian Professors Walter Berka and Hannes Tretter.
In March the Court accepted the EBU's request to intervene, and in late April the EBU submitted its written statement which was drafted in close cooperation with the authors of the above-mentioned study and in consultation with the Legal and Policy Committee.
The issue before the Court remains relevant today, not least because of threats to close down or downsize public service media in other countries, without consideration of the impact this would have on media freedom and pluralism.
This case could be an opportunity for the Court to clarify States' positive obligation to ensure media freedom and pluralism, further developing existing case law, and in particular the Manole and Centro Europa decisions.