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Occupy Greek TV: The Fight to Keep the Country's Only Public Station on the Air

Occupy Greek TV: The Fight to Keep the Country's Only Public Station on the Air
Reuters

Earlier this week, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras shut down the state-run network ERT, leaving Greece without a publicly funded channel.

But ERT's 2,000 fired employees quickly defied government orders to shut down, occupying company headquarters and broadcasting an internet feed of makeshift news and talkshows. One ERT broadcaster, shocked by the move, told EuroNews, "not even the military dictatorship did this when I was young."

The final moments of ERT's broadcast before being shut down earlier this week.

According to a Reuters report, the internet feed is also being shown by some privately-owned stations and features "feisty 24-hour coverage of the shutdown, with dramatic aerial shots of crowds of supporters outside the ERT building, interviews with protesters and laments by newscasters."

The shutdown has angered many Greeks, with over 6,000 thousand protesting in front of ERT headquarters in Athens. Government officials claim the state-run network had been overstaffed and overspent on "programs no one was watching." The government announced its intentions to launch a more streamlined channel that costs less to produce soon. Samaras has agreed to meet with two junior coalition parties opposed to the shutdown next monday.

Below, via Reuters, scenes from ERT's headquarters since the station shutdown:

An employee wipes tears as she works with colleagues to broadcast a Web-Tv signal at the control room of the Greek state television ERT headquarters in Athens June 12, 2013. Greece's government promised on Wednesday to relaunch a slimmed-down state broadcaster ERT in a matter of weeks after a firestorm of protests from journalists, trade unions and coalition partners over its sudden closure. (REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis)

 

Protesters hold a rally in the courtyard of the Greek State broadcaster ERT headquarters at Agia Paraskevi in a northern suburb of Athens June 13, 2013. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will meet his coalition partners on Monday, his office said on Thursday, in a bid to find a way a out of a growing political crisis over the sudden closure of state broadcaster ERT. (REUTERS/Costas Baltas)

Protesters hold a rally outside the Greek State broadcaster ERT headquarters at Agia Paraskevi in a northern suburb of Athens June 13, 2013. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will meet his coalition partners on Monday, his office said on Thursday, in a bid to find a way a out of a growing political crisis over the sudden closure of state broadcaster ERT. (REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis)

 

Employees stand at the windows of the Greek state television (ERT) headquarters after the government's announcement that it will shut down the broadcaster in Athens June 11, 2013. Greece said it was temporarily closing state broadcaster ERT on Tuesday to lay off staff and slim down the organisation as part of budget cuts, drawing protests from workers and junior partners in the ruling coalition. (REUTERS/John Kolesidis)

 

Protesters sleep inside the Greek state television ERT headquarters in Athens June 12, 2013. Greece announced the closure of its state broadcaster out of the blue on Tuesday, one of the most drastic measures yet in its struggle to shore up its bankrupt state finances and meet the terms of an international bailout. (REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis)

 

Employees work at a control room of the Greek state television ERT headquarters in Athens June 12, 2013. Greece's fragile government faced an internal revolt and fierce public protest on Wednesday over the sudden closure of state broadcaster ERT, hours after the humiliation of seeing its bourse downgraded to emerging market status. The sign reads: "The revolution will not be televised." (REUTERS/John Kolesidis)

Protester smokes a cigarette inside Greek state television ERT's headquarters in Athens June 12, 2013. Greece announced the closure of its state broadcaster out of the blue on Tuesday, one of the most drastic measures yet in its struggle to shore up its bankrupt state finances and meet the terms of an international bailout. (REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis)

Employees work to broadcast a Web-Tv signal at the control room of the Greek state television ERT headquarters in Athens June 12, 2013. Greece's government promised on Wednesday to relaunch a slimmed-down state broadcaster ERT in a matter of weeks after a firestorm of protests from journalists, trade unions and coalition partners over its sudden closure. (REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis)

Protesters hold umbrellas as they stand in heavy rain outside Greek state television ERT headquarters in Athens June 12, 2013. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Wednesday said he would press ahead with plans to reform ERT and launched a blistering attack against those opposing its closure. (REUTERS/John Kolesidis)

An employee raises his arm from a balcony of the studio of state broadcaster ERT in Athens June 11, 2013. Greece said it would shut down state broadcaster ERT on Tuesday and relaunch it as a leaner, cheaper organisation as part of budget cuts, drawing protests from workers, other media and junior partners in the ruling coalition. The banner reads, "Down with the junta. ERT will not shut down". (REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis)

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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