Greek Television: Holding Out!

Greek television journalists are holding out still today just less than 24 hours after being told that they are off the air.

Condemnation from around the world came as the Hellenic Broadcasting Corp (ERT) was blacked out. Michelle Stanistreet from the British National Union of Journalists stated: “this is a terrible decision. It is a direct assault on democracy at a time when the people of Greece need to be told what is going on. They need a reliable news source at this desperate time for the country, the economic situation and rise of dangerous far-right groups”. But, isn’t it just that that is the problem? Keep the people in the dark just at the worst time in history when the economy is buckling under the weight of the economic stress that is being dished out in shovel-loads on top of the Greeks? What they don’t know can’t hurt them? But it sheds some light on the fact that economics and politics and the circulation of information are intrinsically linked.

Greek journalists have carried on broadcasting in an attempt to tell the people what is happening. They are using digital frequencies and networks. Olli Rehn, the European Commission stated that the budget cuts never included the closing down of national television and radio. But, is it surprising really, that things have taken such a dramatic turn? In a one-foot forward and one-foot back stance Rehn stated that it was never the intention of the European Economic Monetary Affairs Commission to see the broadcaster closed down, but at the same time he wouldn’t want to pass comment on the affairs of state of Greece and decisions of government there. Never interfere in another state’s affairs. Except that’s what we have been doing now for years, isn’t it? Ever since we imposed the crippling debt repayments on a country that would never be in a position to pay them back. Just a few days ago the International Monetary Fund suggested that they might just consider writing off some of the debt of Greece.

Protests are taking place throughout the world today by Greek nationals and supporters. There will be a 24-hour strike tomorrow.

Recognizing that Greece will never get out of the wallowing crisis that has become its daily bread should have been admitted long-ago. Debt that is set to reach 185% of GDP this year. There has been talk of reducing that to below 110% by 2022. It’s not certain that the Greek people will wait that long. Greece has had 240 billion euros and it might be the biggest bail out of all time, but, it’s still not enough.  Closing down the ERT looks like it is politically motivated, but the Greek government is using the debt crisis as a means to sweep clean and remove all opposition. Spokespeople from the Greek government have stated that they are looking to reduce the size of the civil service and cut costs to fall in line with the EU requirements.

Isn’t it during times of economic crisis that the people should be in-the-know as to what decisions their governments are making and what state the economy is actually in? All of this comes in the wake of the US surveillance scandal and data-snooping programs. Things look like they are going from bad to worse, but some will say ‘what did you expect?’.  The Greek television looks like it’s going to be the next thorn in the side of the government (and the rest of the world), as the Greek people stand defiant in the face of democracy. Take their television away, you take democracy away. Take democracy away and you take their economy away too. They are already plunged into darkness that looks like the dark-ages through the debt crisis. This might just be the last straw for the Greek people.  Greece is fast becoming the Crisis Republic that others have played a major role in, isn’t it?

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