The government on Friday unveiled its long-expected plan to restructure and cutback on the number of state-run television channels and affiliated radio stations across the country. The plan envisions the elimination of the ET-1 television frequency, the merger of 19 provincial radio stations into nine and the closing of an affiliated TV guide-type magazine.
Additionally, two audio-visual archives organisations will be merged with the national broadcasting entity (ERT) and a digital sports channel will also be axed, with programming shifted to the remaining NET channel and the Thessaloniki-based ET-3.
In making the announcement, Minister of State Ilias Mossialos said the government's goal was to have a public and "not a state or party-affiliated television. He cited saving of 8.3 million euros from the restructuring in 2012 alone. Moreover, he said the emphasis will now be on upgrading the multimedia and digital platforms provided by the public broadcaster.
Additionally, 15 out of 20 AM radio stations (mostly rebroadcasters) will be eliminated, leaving five, whereas one state station will continue on short wave.
Referring to television sector, he said that the channels NET in Athens and ET-3 in Thessaloniki will continue their operation while ET-1 programme will be suspended. Staff at the affected outlets will be transferred to other parts of the ERT organisation.
Expected, reactions were vigorously critical, as political parties and media-related unions criticised the plan, with the latter issuing a statement lambasting the restructuring.