Greece without a national public broadcaster
by Athena Athanasiou
The closure of ERT’s signal and the dismissal of its 2.656 employees cause terror and rage. The governmental decision to shut down the national public broadcaster, and moreover the fact that it was brought forward in the form of a ministerial decree, without parliamentary discussion or approval, constitutes an unprecedented act of authoritarianism. This is a critical moment in a course leading to social calamity.
It witnesses, once again, that this government does not even try to keep up any pretence of legitimacy. It has crossed over into a “we decide and we order”1 logic, reminiscent of dictatorial governance. It is intolerant of democratic public media, public goods, culture, criticism, pluralism, art, audiovisual archives, musical ensembles, freedom of thought and creation. It hates democracy, it fights society. This government answers only to the power of private and oligarchic financial interests. It is a violent, extremist government. In that sense, the fact that the black screen of public television was supported by the neo-Nazi group speaks for itself. Black unites them.
These masterminds of corruption and clientelism cultivate social automatism by deploying the “unproductive public sector workers” and “parasitic public sector” cynical rhetoric, while passing over the fact that they are the ones to be held accountable for any misconducts regarding ERT’s function. At the same time all they do is loyally serving the neoliberal and neoconservative imperatives of private interests, rights abolition, social engineering, and de-democraticization.
One wonders: For how much longer stereotypical, pretence and self-exculpatory statements such as “DIMAR2 disagrees but…” can be pronounced?
When the government spokesman coldly and full of far-right totalitarianism states that “E.R.T. will shut down on midnight“, we, the people, do not have any other choice. The battle about E.R.T. is a battle of crucial importance, a battle for democracy and society.
1. The original phrase in Greek, Αποφασίζομεν και διατάσσομεν, had been a typical preamble of all the announcements made by the Greek military junta (1967-1974).
2. DIMAR : “Democratic Left”: junior member of the three-party ruling coalition with rightwing New Democracy and social-democratic PASOK