This week on #rbnews international, we continued our series about culture in the time of the crisis with a show dedicated to the musical ensembles of Greece’s public broadcaster ERT. The government’s sudden decision to shut down ERT on 11 June 2013 caused a public outcry in Greece and internationally. Much attention has however been focusing on issues pertaining to freedom of the press, and little to ERT’s contribution to Greek cultural life at large. The ERT musical ensembles include a symphony orchestra, a contemporary music orchestra and a chorus, and are widely considered to be among the best in the country. A petition to save these musical ensembles can be found on Avaaz.
The show is based on interviews with conductor Michalis Economou (Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Athens Municipality Orchestra, guest conductor at the ERT symphony orchestra), contrabassist Theo Lazarou (ERT symphony orchestra) and tenor Loukas Panourgias (ERT chorus).
The pieces of music included in this podcast (Elgar’s Nimrod, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Verdi’s Dies Irae, and the overture of Mozart’s Magic Flute) were performed during the solidarity concert organized at ERT on 14 June 2013, with participation from all the major orchestras of the greater Athens area. You can watch a partial video of this concert here.
And of course, you can listen to the podcast, as usual, after the jump.
In the statement he delivered in the evening of Tuesday 11 June on behalf of the government, when the shutdown of Greece’s public broadcaster ERT was officially announced, spokesman Simos Kedikoglou justified the government’s decision by saying, among other things: “The Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, ERT, is a typical case of unique opacity and incredible waste of public money (…) It is governed by opacity in the sector of contract management.”
The irony of this statement was not lost on ERT staff, who were prompt to note that Simos Kedikoglou was himself recruited as an ERT journalist in 1995, at a time when his father, Vasilis Kedikoglou, was a member of parliament with then-governing party PASOK. This was also denounced by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, in response to whom Kedikoglou’s office published a statement, that was reported by To Ethnos newspaper on 14 June:
On 16 June, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras wrote a long opinion piece for the Sunday edition of newspaper Kathimerini (which, incidentally, was published despite the fact that all media were officially on strike) to justify his decision to shut down Greece’s public broadcaster ERT. Former ERT news director Giorgos Kogiannis wrote in turn an answer to the Prime Minister on the newly established ERT workers’ blog, in which he points out several contradictions between Samaras’s claims and some actual facts and emphasizes that Samaras’s criticism of ERT should apply, first and foremost, to his own choices and those of his entourage. We are summarizing this indirect dialogue below.
Last night the Council of State issued a ruling which was hailed as overturning common ministerial decision OIK 02/11.06.2013 that shut down with immediate effect Greece’s public broadcaster ERT, leaving TV watchers in front of a black screen. The Council of State specifically orders:
1. That enforcement of the common ministerial decision is suspended “exclusively with regard to those items pertaining to a) the interruption of transmissions of radio and television signals and of operations of websites owned by ERT, and b) the fact that ERT frequencies should remain inactive (article 2, § 2, item b of the common ministerial decision).”
2. That competent ministers [i.e. the Minister of Finance and the Minister of State responsible for media affairs] should take “necessary organizational measures for the resumption of radio and television signal transmissions and the operation of websites owned by a public broadcaster until the establishment of a new agency which will serve the public interest, as stipulated in article 1 § 2 of the common ministerial decision.”
But what does this mean in practice?
This week on #rbnews international, our guest was Michael Nevradakis, who also runs a web radio station, Dialogos Radio, and who has been actively following the government shutdown of Greece’s national broadcaster ERT. We summarized how the Greek government is trying to close ERT and the reasons behind this decision.
You can follow Michael on Twitter @dialogosmedia.
And of course, you can listen to the podcast after the jump.