Greece’s national TV station, Nerit, began broadcasting just hours before the Eurovision Song Contest 2014. Following the surprise closure of Greece’s previous state broadcster ERT, the EBU made a rare exception and allowed the upstart Nerit to participate, despite the fact the network did not have sufficient time to prove that it was committed to the values of openness, transparency and independence—requirements for all EBU member networks.
Some days ago, the European Broadcasting Union approached the Greek government and explicitly asked how independent the broadcaster is. This occurred after Parliament passed an amendment on August 5 that allows the government to elect Nerit’s members to the supervisory board. In other words: The broadcaster is ruled by the government.
The EBU expressed its “surprise and deep disappointment” as well as their concerns about the political independence of the TV channel. “The rules of appointment have been changed virtually overnight, without proper debate, and without considering best practice in Europe, which is a pity,” said the EBU’s Director General Ingrid Deltenre. “The original appointment procedure in last year’s law was unique and looked overly complex and time-consuming. But unfortunately the new procedure lacks the legal safeguards to ensure the independence and pluralism of the supervisory council.”
As always, this has caused controversy in the Greek Parliament. Nerit has already confirmed its participation at the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest. If Nerit misbehaves, will the EBU react? Could Greece be forced out? We hope not. Greece is a pillar of Eurovision, and we want them in the contest. So come on, Nerit. Honour the birthplace of democracy and keep it open, keep it transparent, and keep yourself in the EBU!
Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)