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Greece pulls plug on state broadcaster

By Elinda Labropoulou, for CNN
updated 7:23 PM EDT, Wed June 12, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Greek government orders closure of state broadcaster ERT
  • Spokesman cited chronic corruption and mismanagement of funds
  • Several of ERT's three TV channels and radios went off air Wednesday

(CNN) -- In a budget-cutting move, the Greek government closed, at least temporarily, state broadcaster ERT.

Government spokesperson Simon Kedikoglou cited chronic corruption and mismanagement of funds as reasons for the closure.

"At a time when the Greek people are enduring sacrifices, there is no room for delay, hesitation or tolerance for sacred cows," Kedikoglou said in announcement shown on the broadcaster.

At least several of ERT's three TV channels and radio services went off the air early Wednesday. Television viewers saw screens go black.

ERT has said the decision means 2,656 employees will lose their jobs. In order to meet its commitments to its creditors, the Greek government has to dismiss 2,000 people from the wider public sector by the end of the year and 15,000 by the end of 2014.

The new television and radio broadcaster will open with a much smaller staff, Kedikoglou said. A "modern television and radio broadcaster will be established that will operate as soon as possible," he said.

Existing employees will be able to apply for new positions. A time frame for the new organization has not been announced.

Hundreds of employees gathered outside the ERT Athens headquarters to protest the move. Unions say they will fight the decision.

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