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DStv loses Greek TV channel

2013-06-12 11:04
Greek TV channel ERT-World
Cape Town – MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform instantly lost the ERT World (DStv 432) TV channel at midnight on Wednesday as the international 24-hour general entertainment and news channel from Greece abruptly ceased broadcasting.

DStv subscribers in South Africa and Africa are without one of their channels hours after Greece's public broadcaster, the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, or ERT, went dead following a government decree forcing ERT to disband. It immediately affected ERT's international TV channel, ERT World.

Greece, seen as the cradle of democracy, is suddenly left without a public broadcaster – and that impact is instantly being felt around the world as the international ERT channel froze up following the shocking move by a country to shut down its public broadcaster.

Shocking shutdown

For a while since midnight on Wednesday, ERT World on DStv remained stuck on just one last frame as the video broadcast simply ceased – it's own workers in revolt outside ERT's headquarters with riot police – as ERT World froze up when ERT's local TV channels in Greece shut down just before midnight.

The dramatic final frame on ERT World is of ERT workers discussing the shocking ERT World shutdown in a second screen in the corner as bewildered, angry and upset workers are milling about on the main image as ERT covered its own shocking demise.

Hours later the ERT World channel went dead on Wednesday morning, replaced with a black screen and a DStv status message saying "This channel is closed".

ERT World, which started in 1996 as ERT SAT, is compiled from programmes across Greece's public broadcaster's other three terrestrial TV channels such as ET1, ET3 and NET. With those TV channels going dark and ERT headquarters in Athens shutting down, ERT World itself was unable to remain on the air itself.

Channel caught by surprise

The Greek goverment is shutting down the public broadcaster through emergency legislation which didn't require cabinet approval to get rid of the 2 500 workers in the economically struggling nation undergoing traumatic austerity measures due to the country's massive national debt. The move caught ERT workers by surprise.

The government will relaunch the public broadcaster - but as a "leaner organisation". Prime minister Antonis Samaras ordered the immediate shutdown of ERT - which might re-employ only 1 500 of the workers.

According to The Guardian a Greek government spokesperson described ERT as "a haven of waste".

"ERT is a case of an exceptional lack of transparency and incredible extravagance. This ends now," the Greek government said in a statement.

The Greek government has given no indication of when ERT would reopen; there is no indication of what the effects will be on ERT World and whether or how ERT World will continue if it does resume. ERT World shows entertainment, documentaries, sport and news from the Hellenic culture.

Although ERT doesn't receive money through a TV licence in the way the BBC and the SABC do, ERT is basically state funded with Greeks who pay a surcharge added to their monthly electricity bills and which has to be paid.

Greece's POESY media union blames the Greek government for shutting down the public broadcaster in order to keep creditors happy.

"Bailout creditors are demanding civil service layoffs and the government, in order to meet its obligations toward foreign monitors, is prepared to sacrifice the public broadcasting corporation," the union said in a statement.
Read more on:    dstv  |  multichoice  |  greece  |  tv
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