The President of the EBU Mr Jean-Paul Philippot arrived in Athens, Greece at the ERT Headquarters and gave a press conference from the ERT studios. The ERT hostess Odin Linardatou welcomed the EBU President and thanked the European Broadcasting Union for the support.
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:: Mr Philippot said thank you for organizing this press conference and solidairty is a key to success and freedom of expression. It’s a question of pluralism. The Greek broadcaster is the most important investor in producing quality programs. ERT is funding member of the EBU as it was there when we launched our first radio and television programs.
:: We work with the same values all over Europe and we spoke on behalf of thousands of broadcaster employees today. This afternoon we have a meeting with Minister of Finance (the new legal owner of the ERT) and we will give him a letter to reverse the decision and to re-establish the TV, radio and web signal. We propose to the government to assist them in building the new national broadcaster. We are not here to take part in a political debate.
:: All nations in Europe need a national broadcaster. Our concern for the future is to re-establish the signal and in the long term and to have a strong member of the EBU which means a body which is free, transparent and sustainable in management, skills, finance. It’s our proposition, something we supported recently in Strasburg. New organization new restructure is needed and we are here to support it. Our responsibility is to have independent and transparent national broadcasters.
:: We have to resolve the obligations of ERT while the broadcaster is down, especially with the rights of events set to be broadcast. The cultural diversity of Greece is a big concern as the country has great talent in productions.
:: For now we assume that ERT is ative and therefore a member of the European Broadcasting Union. We have a good reason to keep supporting the broadcast of the ERT signal. New broadcaster will mean new membership application for the EBU. We made an evaluation before we do all these actions.
:: It’s early to discuss the new ERT structure as we are not fully aware of it. In longterm prospective is to have a member which is transparent and sustainable. We don’t know the new model of ERT (NERIT) therefore we cannot comment on it. We know that no member of ours is perfect this is why we keep redefining our values and we are working with each member to imporve transparency, pluralism and sustainability.
:: EBU never discussed ERT issues with the government we always keep talking with the national broadcasters. EBU’s President also refuted that ERT is the largest broadcaster in Europe saying that you cannot compare small and big broadcasters in terms of size and employees. You cannot compare countries very easily because for example Belgium and Greece have more or less the same population but the country of Belgium is easier to be vcovered by less employees while Greece has different structure especially with all the islands therefore more employees might be needed.
:: We are here because never in the history of European Broadcasting Union a signal was off. Even in Eastern Germany after the merge with the Western Germany the new broadcaster shut down and re-opened immediately. No one is perfect, ERT was not perfect but the responsibility for the lack of transparency is not on the shoulders of the employees but on the management (implying also the government).
:: I am here because as President Baroso said it’s a question of democracy!
:: We know that all Europe has a big crisis and the crisis level differs from country to country. We are here not about the budget cuts of ERT but we are here for the cutting off of the signal.