18 Jun 2013

Greek TV closure suspended

10:43 am on 18 June 2013

A court in Greece has suspended a government order to close the state radio and television network, ERT.

The Council of State said on Monday that ERT could resume transmission until a new national media organisation is set up.

The Council upheld a plan by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to replace ERT with a new broadcaster later this year, but backed the position of the other coalition partners that the signal must be restored in the interim.

It ordered the government to restart ERT broadcasts on a temporary basis.

The case was brought by the union at ERT.

Also on Monday, Mr Samaras held crisis talks with other members of the coalition over his decision to close the national radio and television network last week.

Junior coalition members were furious about the sudden decision which was announced last Tuesday.

Mr Samaras accused ERT of corruption and waste.

He said a new leaner, cheaper broadcaster will be established within weeks and he has proposed hiring a small team to produce news programmes in the interim.

But this idea was rejected by other members of the coalition, who demand that the ERT signal be restored.

If no deal is reached, the government could fall and Greece could slide into fresh elections.

However, a BBC correspondent said this is unlikely, given that the poll ratings of the two smaller coalition parties are poor.