Greece began transmitting a new public television signal on Wednesday (July 10) on the same frequency as its former controversial state broadcaster ERT had before it was shut down a month ago by the government.
The closure of ERT on June 11 almost led to the collapse of the government, causing weeks of protests and criticism by politicians and unions.
Government officials said the name is temporary until the new state broadcaster that will replace ERT is completely ready. The bill for the new state broadcaster was submitted to parliament on Tuesday, and it is expected that the new channel will begin regular programming within the next three months. Until then, government officials said the new signal will show documentaries and films.
The new signal was being broadcast from a private TV studio in Athens however, as ERT employees are still occupying the state TV's headquarters in defiance and continuing to put out their own program on the internet using ERT equipment.
The ERT employees union POSPERT said a resolution with the government has still not been reached and they will continue to occupy ERT headquarters and broadcast their own programme.
POSPERT want ERT to re-open before sitting down with the government and discussing reforms, including layoffs. But the government is sticking to its plan that ERT be shut down completely, and the some 2,600 staff be dismissed. ERT employees will then have to re-apply for a job at the new broadcaster, but it is expected that only half will be re-hired. The government shut down ERT to save costs, saying it was bloated, corrupt, and inefficient.