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Electronic media in Greece strike against an undemocratic law

23 October 2015 / 12:10:25  GRReporter
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On the second day of the visit of French President Francois Hollande to Athens the Greek electronic media have become silent due to a 24-hour strike, which began at 06:00 am today and will continue until 06:00 am on Saturday.

The strike involves all Greek electronic media – the state radio and television ERT, Athens News Agency, the General Secretariat for Information and Communication, the television of the Greek parliament and all private television channels.

The trade unions of electronic media employees have announced the strike in protest against the voting on the bill submitted by the government. According to the Journalists' Union in Athens, it violates the independence and transparency in the functioning of the media, and pluralism.

The statement of the union indicates that it opposes "the attempts to turn journalists into public workers" and that the bill not only does not protect jobs in the media but also "allows the launch of a new wave of layoffs and undermining labour relations."

It is noteworthy that the third channel of the state television ERT3 in Thessaloniki had broadcasted since the morning under the pretext that the local Journalists' Union had not explicitly announced that it would participate in the strike. The channel broadcasted along with the other two channels of ERT in Athens. Thus, the state television that is very friendly to the current government in fact broke the strike. A little later, the Journalists' Union in Thessaloniki announced a four-hour work stoppage of ERT3, private television channels and the correspondent offices of private television stations that are located within the Thessaloniki region.

Meanwhile, fierce debate within the discussion of the proposed bill is underway in the Greek parliament, which the opposition defines as undemocratic. Former Deputy Prime Minister and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said that it violates the Greek Constitution and hides the attempt of the government to create a "new families in the media." According to him, this regards "unknown business interests that will work with the government without any possibility of being controlled."

One of the main arguments of the opposition is that the government wants to fully control the media, as the bill provides for the issue of a certain number of licences to broadcast television programmes, which will be subject to a decision by the competent Minister of State. "This regulation violates the rules of legislative delegation," said Venizelos, adding, "Actually, the map of frequencies and the number of licences must comply with digital rather than with analogue reality."

MP Lefteris Avgenakis from New Democracy in turn said that the government aims to make State Minister Nikos Pappas a "minister-media owner." He accused the government of not providing any explanation of the objections raised by the European Commission in connection with some of the regulations in the bill.

Tags: PoliticsMediaStrikeBill
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