Tag Archives: ERT

Same old shit

Lots of you have asked me why I haven’t been writing any more in the past three or four (or five?) months of this blog’s hibernation. My answer is “same old shit”. Like this one.

It’s been a bit more than a year since the government decided to suddenly close down ERT, the public broadcaster. One of the main arguments was that the government wanted to create something new, a new broadcaster without the political dependencies of the past. Today they have proved (once more) what a big fat lie that was. So here’s the story.

There’s this journalist and anchorman called Nikos Evaggelatos. NERIT, which is the brave new sister of the old corrupt ERT, announced today that it’s hiring him for a news show. Credible Typologies blog wrote that initially NERIT’s BoD was a bit wary of the deal because (wait for it…) New Democracy approved him but PASOK (New Democracy’s government partner) didn’t! 

The happy end was announced today with PASOK’s acquiescence, God knows in exchange for what.

But who is Nikos Evaggelatos and why would a newly-born broadcaster hoping to gain back its lost credibility and the society’s trust, hire him?

Evangelatos

He is one of those journalists for who Wikipedians dedicate a special, not so honorary, paragraph titled “Problems of deontology”.

In 1998 Nikos Evaggelatos forgot that he was an anchorman for SKAI TV’s news bulletin and was self-proclaimed negotiator when he started talking live on TV with Sorin Matei, a Romanian fugitive who was holding a hostage. His negotiating skills, together with those of the then leadership of the Greek Police, were bad enough to get the hostage killed. BBC and Channel 4 have made documentaries about this case. Evaggelatos went back to journalism. 

In 2001, during the bombing of Afghanistan, Evaggelatos was the main anchorman and News Director of Tempo TV. He aired a show which he called “In the camps of the Taliban” claiming that his team managed to get access to these camps. In fact, it was later proved that they never visited these camps. They never managed to enter Afghanistan either. They were so naive that they thought they could film places in Pakistan and sell them for the Afghan warzone. I still remember the shot of a Coca-Cola ad in that report – despite how few things I knew about Afghanistan back then, I was aware that they’d never have the evil drink sold on the streets.

Apart from the case above, he has been suspended from the Athens Journalists’ Union three more times. For involving someone’s name in the case of November 17 terrorist organisation, for using an actor in what was a fake interview and for accepting to star in a commercial advertisement (a practice prohibited by journalists’ unions in Greece).

And the funniest thing? During the discussions about his new job, I read that he proposed to work without pay. In exchange, he wanted to advertise his (and his wife’s) websites through NERIT. Can you imagine NERIT, with its own news portal, advertising another news portal?

Instead of the epilogue, check this out – another reason for the government’s decision to close down ERT was that it was loss making. Typologies blog published today its budget for 2013. Guess what. It was still making profit!

So, “same old shit” as I said. May we have a nice (and warm) winter!

 

There is life after austerity

samargouria

The guy in the photo (right) is Angel Gurría, general secretary of OECD. When he last met Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (left) last November he congratulated him for managing to bring Greece in the top position, internationally, of the list with the countries carrying out structural reforms.

These reforms were supposed to improve the way the Greek economy functions but also to rationalise the Greek public sector. Last summer, the Greek government had decided to suddenly close down ERT, the Greek Radio & TV Broadcasting company. The idea of firing all of a sudden around 2,500 employees was that ERT was a corrupt and expensive public organisation. At the beginning there was absolutely no plan – after the huge public pressure and uproar that ERT closure’s caused, the government announced that there would be a new state broadcaster created soon. It would more efficient than ERT, cheaper and more transparent.

Almost a year later, a few days ago, Eleftherotypia newspaper published the cost of a show that is now being broadcasted by NERIT, ERT’s kitsch and unpopular successor. It’s a new version of a show about tourism (that used to exist during ERT), trying to convince Greeks to spend their summer (money) in Greece rather than abroad. As if there is enough income distributed in the society for international plane tickets. Anyway, back to the show, here’s its budget.

nerit-spatali

On the left column you can see the people hired for the show (by specialty) and on the right you can see their payment (for the 2-month period which this contract is valid for). In the country where the minimum wage is down to around 500 euros per month, there is a journalist who will be paid 5.208 euros for reading the text messages that viewers send to the show. Out of the 11 people that will compose the journalistic part of the team, two will be handling the social media, each also paid 5.208 euros for these two months. The same will be the payment for the person who will be responsible to call and book the guests of the show while the editor-in-chief of the show will receive 8.060 euros. For two fucking months! That’s efficiency and rationalisation of ERT’s costs.

And if you want to compare with ERT’s already high wages [compared to the rest of the media market] the guest-booker in the old version of the show (at ERT) was earning about 30% less than the current NERIT’s payment.

As for increased transparency, these people have been hired without a some kind of competition, no job vacancy announcement, no evaluation of applicants.

A vicious circle, creating worst monsters than the ones we had in a supposed attempt to modernise, to get improved, to restructure [sic].

venizelos gurria

Back in his December 2013 visit, Angel Gurría had also met Evangelos Venizelos, the Frank Underwood of the Greek political scene. After the many congrats for Greece’s obediency, the OECD general secretary told him a sibyllic ‘There’s life after debt” which kept me wondering what the hell he was trying to say.

I get it now. There is indeed going to be life after the austerity. Those who get paid 5.000 euros for reading text messages will survive. The rest will have to emigrate abroad. Those who can afford their basic medication will survive. Unlike the woman in Lesvos who died last week [inside the local hospital!!!] simply because she couldn’t afford her medicines for hypertension.

There will be more international congratulations for this government and for these policies that cause such collateral damage. The elections are approaching and Samaras has invited everybody to congratulate him so that Greeks can be convinced that we’re on the right track, that we are exiting the crisis. Angela Merkel will be the next one with her visit planned in the coming days. Others will surely follow. They should all feel responsible if this vicious circle continues.

A government with(out) a plan

There are many ways to demonstrate that the Greek government, despite its assurances, has suspended the Greek Public Radio & TV (ERT) without a fucking idea of what they’ll do next. The small details can even make you laugh instead of weep. In an attempt to convince people that there is a long-term plan, the government has announced that the new broadcaster would be called NERIT. But it was such a hasty, unorganized, almost spontaneous though huge decision that noone had the slightest intelligence to buy the new domain, nerit.gr. So someone else did and is now making fun of this ridiculous government by embedding ERT’s web streaming on the page (so the new NERIT is showing the good old ERT’s programme). Here’s a screenshot.

nerit.gr

In case you wonder what pitsaria-pou-eskise.gr is, it means “a pizzeria that had a huge success”. The reference is to a show in which the current PM Antonis Samaras appeared during his pre-election campaign a year ago. A member of the audience asked Samaras how can he present himself as able to get a national economy out of a crisis when he has been a politician by profession all his life. Samaras replied that this is not true because when he was young, after finishing his studies in the US, he had opened a pizzeria which, indeed, has a huge success.

Total eclipse of the hEaRT

total eclipse by Manos Symeonakis

A cartoon about the Greek Radio & TV’s closure by Manos Symeonakis for the Cartoon Movement.

Censoring the Monodrome

The 3rd Athens Biennale 2011 MONODROME (one-way) opened to the public on 23 October and will last through 11 December. Director Giorgos Zois produced a 26” video trailer to promote the event. ERT, the public radio & television corporation, was the Major Media Sponsor. Despite that, ERT refused to broadcast the trailer. The reason was this:

The legal framework in which ERT operates does not allow, among other things, to broadcast messages that contain violence or that encourage behaviors which can damage health or safety or that touch on human dignity. The above legal framework is well-known and those who are involved with the production of promotional messages should be aware of it. ERT  does not censor, does not comment and does not judge the artistic creativity.

The censored video is this.

I first came across this excellent video days before the state censored it from the public tv. I found it aesthetically impeccable and above all apropos. In a country with such social discontent, anything else would be irrelevant. And by the way, one only needs to watch the news bulletin of ERT on the day of a general strike and he will see similar images.

The international contemporary art festival of Athens takes place at Diplareios School (Theatre Square) and at the Arts Center and the Eleftherios Venizelos Museum (Eleftherias Park). More than 100 artists, art groups, curators and theorists participate in the exhibition and the events programme of MONODROME. Furthermore, a series of exhibitions and events organized by cultural institutions, museums and galleries in Athens are included in MONODROME Parallel Events.

MONODROME is being realized despite the Crisis that affects Greece heavily. Produced in a state of emergency, and through the synergy of all participants and a large group of volunteers, MONODROME assembles the diverse pieces of an exploratory puzzle, addressing the “here and now”. At the same time the exhibition attempts to question historical narratives that have functioned as dictums of the Greek sociopolitical and aesthetic identity and resulted in the country’s perennial suspension between a ‘before’ (tradition) and an ‘after’ (modernization). Being usually perceived and promoted as an emblematic city, Athens today is the epicentre of the Greek upheaval, a place of massive demonstrations and public discussions.

Excerpt from the Biennale’s Concept