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Greek ERT Journalists Ignore State Order To End Programming

The Greek government wanted to shut down ERT radio and TV services as a way of lessening the deficit, but journalists aren’t having it.

Journalists and technicians at Greece’s state-run broadcaster, ERT, defied the government last night, and continued to transmit programs. The country, one of the worst-hit by the Eurozone crisis, had earlier announced the immediate closure of ERT’s TV and radio services as a way of lessening the national deficit.

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The move, described as “a coup” by opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, has been met with disbelief from junior coalition partners, opposition politicians, and the unions. The European Union’s response was a masterclass in fence-sitting. Journalists across other networks in Greece are striking today in protest.

Although the signal was shut down at 11 p.m. local time, technicians apparently commandeered an old analog transmitter and kept the signal going. The government, led by Antonis Samaras, says ERT is bloated and inefficient, and it will re-open a more cost-effective version at a later date. Local media is reporting there will be around 1,000 posts in the new organization.

Economist Yanis Varoufakis glanced over at Greece’s neighbor, Turkey, and mused, “Is this our Taksim Square?”

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My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.

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