A State Council decision on whether to grant a temporary injunction freezing the order to shutter Greek state broadcaster ERT is expected this afternoon, the Kathimerini website reports. The news comes as broadcast chiefs from around Europe have called on Greek authorities to reopen ERT after the government ordered it to cease operations on Tuesday. Over 50 public media CEOs, directors general and presidents including the BBC’s Tony Hall and leaders of Danish broadcaster DR, France’s France Télévisions, Germany’s ARD and ZDF, Italy’s RAI and Spain’s RTVE, have condemned ERT’s closure as “undemocratic and unprofessional.” (The station’s news channel NET was back on air for satellite subscribers late on Thursday, however, as the European Broadcasting Union implemented a workaround to take the feed from a Thessaloniki studio and retransmit it via the EBU’s Athens earth station.)
Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has taken a step towards quelling the situation by inviting two left-wing junior coalition parties opposed to the shutdown to talks next Monday, Reuters reports. A compromise may emerge, but a government official told the news agency that Samaras is not expected to reverse his decision to launch a leaner state broadcaster in late summer. A source also told Reuters that cash-strapped Athens was under pressure to show EU and IMF inspectors that it had a plan to fire 2,000 public employees, and ERT was the only option available. Nearly 2,600 workers have been laid off. A media strike in support of ERT will continue to Tuesday morning while the ongoing turmoil could make for political upheaval. Protesters on Thursday were gathered outside ERT’s headquarters with banners that read “Fire Samaras, not ERT workers!” and a headline on Kathimerini read, “Either there’s a solution in a week or it’s elections.”
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