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Greek state TV still off air amid negotiations

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 19:12

Athens: State-run television channels in Greece remained off-air on Tuesday as the government scrambled to deal with a storm of protest over its decision to shut down public broadcaster ERT.

A meeting on late Monday between conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his center-left coalition partners ended inconclusively.

A new meeting has been called for Wednesday to determine whether Samaras will have to reverse his controversial June 11 decision to shut down ERT with the loss of nearly 2,700 jobs to save money.

Greece`s top administrative court, the Council of State, late on Monday suspended this decision, which has sparked uproar nationwide and abroad, and told the government to restore public broadcasts.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, who is overseeing ERT`s liquidation, on Monday told reporters that a new public broadcaster would be up and running "as soon as possible."

But his ministry said it could not specify when this would take place.

Facing a rift in his government that could even lead to early elections, Samaras reportedly offered on Monday to reshuffle the cabinet to placate his partners.

He has also offered to restore public news broadcasts under a temporary entity.

But he has steadfastly refused to reinstate ERT under its previous format, claiming that the company ate up 300 million euros ($400 million) a year for an overall viewer rating of four percent, less than half of its private competitors.

The government has also offered to compensate ERT`s nearly 2,700 employees.

Samaras is under pressure by Greece`s bailout lenders to meet the terms of a massive 240 billion euro (321 billion dollar) bailout for the country.

Centre-left Ethnos daily said the court decision had halted a "dangerous" course towards early elections but liberal Kathimerini daily said the government remained on "a razor`s edge".


First Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 19:12
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