Greek demonstrators have continued their two-week occupation of state broadcaster ERT’s main building, amid ongoing protests over the closure of the station, Press TV reports. “There is no solution to this without involving the ERT employees. The workers have to be an integral part of any development. The ERT frequencies have to be restored,” Panagiotis Kalfagiannis, a member of the ERT Workers’ Union, said in an interview with Press TV. Former ERT employees have occupied the station’s main campus in Athens since June 11, after a surprise decision by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to close the state broadcaster. Demonstrators have since protested against a series of follow-up negotiations for the state broadcaster to resume transmission. However, the government refused to restore the signals despite rulings by Greece's Highest Court and the Supreme Council of State, who urged the immediate reopening of all ERT frequencies.
“For any dialogue to be fruitful, there has to be three prerequisites: the implementation of the ruling of the Supreme Council of State; the opening of both the digital and analog signals; and the voiding of the original shutdown decision and the layoffs,” said Nikos Tsibidas, a member of the Greek Radio and Broadcasters Union.Experts criticized the Greek government for the ongoing disruption in service, saying taxpayers have been paying more money during the last two weeks than what the government planned to save from the closure of the station. “We had heard the prime minister saying that the BBC could be brought in to manage or guide the setting up of the new replacement organization. But ERT does not need any other national broadcaster to direct it. There is, however, a need to align the management of ERT with the standards of the European broadcasters unions,” Tsibidas added. The closure of the state broadcaster, which is part of the Greek government's unpopular austerity measures, has left the ERT’s nearly 2,700 staff suspended. In April, the Greek parliament passed a bill to cut 15,000 state jobs by the end of 2014 as a condition for debt-stricken Greece to receive rescue loans from its European partners and the IMF. GMA/KA