Reprieve for Greek state broadcaster, for now

Employees secure a protest banner at the headquarters of the Greek public broadcaster ERT on June 13 in Athens, Greece.

Story highlights

  • Greece's top court orders the government to resume state broadcasts
  • State broadcaster ERT will air only until a new media group is created
  • The court partially overturns the government's decision to suspend ERT
  • The government's decision was a budget-cutting move

Greece's top court ordered the government Monday to restart state broadcaster ERT, but only until it can set up a new media entity.

The order partially overturns the government's controversial decision last week to take ERT off the air while it creates a smaller broadcaster with fewer staff as a budget-cutting move.

The court ruled a "minimum transmission" must be restored at ERT in order to serve the public interest until the new broadcaster is ready.

There was no immediate response from the coalition government, whose leaders are still holding talks on ERT's future.

The government's decision to suspend ERT led to protests and prompted the European Broadcast Union president to urge Greece to reconsider.

Off air, out of work for Greece's ERT TV
Off air, out of work for Greece's ERT TV

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Off air, out of work for Greece's ERT TV 06:35

ERT's TV channels and radio services were pulled off the air early Wednesday, although some employees have continued to broadcast via the Internet. ERT said the decision meant 2,656 employees would lose their jobs.

Greek unions also vowed to fight the decision, which comes as the country struggles with a mountain of debt, soaring unemployment and a lengthy recession.

To meet its commitments to its creditors -- the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund -- the Greek government must dismiss 2,000 people from the wider public sector by the end of the year and 15,000 by the end of 2014.