The European Broadcasting Union, best known for producing the annual “Eurovision” song contest, has set up a pirate TV signal to keep Greece’s ERT public broadcasting station live, in defiance of the Greek government.
ERT was disbanded Tuesday as part of further austerity cuts. The station’s 2,500 workers were laid off, and ERT’s website was seized.
Protests in Athens instantly erupted and are still going on now.
Wednesday morning, the EBU’s board met and decided to intervene.
They dispatched a van to Thessaloniki, where ERT staff have regrouped, to set up a pirate signal.
Just in the past few hours, EBU restored full broadcasting to ERT satellite subscribers to watch on their TVs.
“Our function is to defend our members’ right to operate according to values on which we were built,” EBU communications officer Ben Steward told us. “One of these values is providing the public with access to quality information and news, so what the Greek government did is tantamount to the worst kind of censorship.”
Steward says the station is prepared for backlash from the Greek government.
“What they’re doing is wrong, and… the way they did it was rash, unprofessional, and antidemocratic.”
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