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Greece launches its new public broadcaster

Greece’s new public broadcaster NERIT has begun transmissions, 11 months after its predecessor ERT was closed down in controversial circumstances.

The new Greek Radio, Internet and Television (NERIT) launched the first of its programs on Sunday 4 May.

The abrupt closure of its predecessor, the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) last June caused a public outcry and the defection of the Democratic Left from coalition government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. 

At the time, Athens claimed that the former broadcaster was too costly and ineffective, with 2,600 employees and annual costs of  $416 million. Some of the staff continued to broadcast online until expelled in November.

The new station’s president, George Prokopakis, told the state-run Athens News Agency (ANA) that the broadcast launch would be “modest.”

“Procedural” problems had delayed the launch, initially intended for April 27, he said.

NERIT has started with two radio channels, a web offering and one TV channel which on launch night offered news, films and sports.

As part of its articles of constitution, NERIT says that it “disposes complete independence in its broadcast programming and also in the expressed point of view of its editors.” It adds that it will operate with full transparency, public consultation procedures and accountability.