Crisis And Chaos Return To Greece Following National TV Shutdown

Tyler Durden's picture

A week ago we joked that Greece was rapidly sliding into the "fourth world" (and had the photos to prove it). Well, today Equity Index provider MSCI took our joke and made it into something way too serious when overnight it made Greece the first developed nation ever to be downgraded into "emerging market" status. Not quite fourth world, but that too will come. However, what's worse for Greece is that as we reported yesterday, the majority of Greeks have no way of learning about this following the governmental "temporary" shutdown of its one national TV prodier, ERT. Kathimerini followed up with news that ERT would be renamed to NERIT, the New Hellenic Radio Internet and Television - a state company owned by the public sector and regulated by the state, and relaunched by the end of August, however what matters to the public is that the vast majority of employees would likely be let go permanently.

However, the biggest news out of Greece is that the events in the 24 hours have pushed the depressed country right back into crisis mode, with political bickering front and center (the opposition leader called the uncoordinated move "a coup" even as coalition partners blasted the broadcaster shutdown while Europe washed it hands), while the economic contraction is set to accelerate once more following what is certain to be another escalation in daily protests and riots. And who can blame them - with that last civilizational "premium" - free TV for all - gone, what else is there to do?

From Reuters:

Greece's fragile government faced an internal revolt and fierce public protest on Wednesday over the sudden closure of state broadcaster ERT, hours after the humiliation of seeing its bourse downgraded to emerging market status. The twin setbacks, coupled with the derailing of a troubled privatization program, blew a hole in rising investor confidence that had prompted Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to declare the risk of a "Grexit" from the euro was dead and a "Greekovery" was under way.


Yields on Greece's 10-year benchmark bond crept back above 10 percent after Athens failed to sell state gas firm DEPA on Monday, leaving it short of cash to meet its international bailout targets.


The stock market traded at two-month lows after Greece became the first developed nation ever to be lowered to emerging market by equity index provider MSCI.


Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's government declined comment on the market reclassification as it tried to fend off a growing media backlash against ERT's dramatic closure. The public broadcaster was yanked off air just hours after the shutdown was announced in what the government said was a temporary measure to staunch an "incredible waste" of taxpayers' money prior to relaunching a slimmed-down station.


Labor unions called a 24-hour national work stoppage for Thursday and journalists went on an open-ended strike, forcing a news blackout on privately owned television and newspapers. "The strike will only end when the government takes back this coup d'etat which gags information," the journalists' union said.


Some ERT journalists were occupying the broadcaster's building in defiance of police orders and broadcasting over the Internet. Hundreds of employees and protesters gathered outside.

Ah, the smell of Greek chaos in the morning - it smells like normalcy. In retrospect, it appears only the Greeks did not see this coming. When the country handed over its sovereignty to the European Commission, all of the subsequent events were perfectly clear for all to see.

Perhaps the biggest irony is that the state broadcaster was one of the more fervent supporters of the regime, gladly ignoring the flaws in the administration and focusing on what little positives there was. It will no longer have this chance:

Many Greeks have little love for ERT journalists and the state broadcaster is often cited as an example of inefficiency, overspending and jobs given in return for political favors.


But the speed and suddenness of the shutdown - ERT screens abruptly went black just before midnight - stunned Greeks long used to the slow pace of public sector restructuring.


"This government's ways are dictatorial: they decide and they order," said 45-year old Panagiotis, who declined to give his full name for fear of losing his own public sector job.


"It was a wrong move. Yes, the public sector needs to be downsized and we all knew that ERT was being used for political favors but they did not need to fire them all."

Coming back full circle, once more the biggest threat to Greece, to Europe and the Euro, is coming from Greece, where the events in the 24 hours may have destabilized the government enough to hand over power to the anti-bailout party, Syriza:

Many Greeks have little love for ERT journalists and the state broadcaster is often cited as an example of inefficiency, overspending and jobs given in return for political favors.


But the speed and suddenness of the shutdown - ERT screens abruptly went black just before midnight - stunned Greeks long used to the slow pace of public sector restructuring.


"This government's ways are dictatorial: they decide and they order," said 45-year old Panagiotis, who declined to give his full name for fear of losing his own public sector job.


"It was a wrong move. Yes, the public sector needs to be downsized and we all knew that ERT was being used for political favors but they did not need to fire them all."


The closure opened cracks in Samaras's fragile three-party coalition. Samaras's two junior partners, the Socialist PASOK and the Democratic Left said they would oppose the decision.


Both parties said they had not been consulted but stopped short of saying the row could bring the government down.

So-called experts are appalled by the possibility of early elections:

"It's anyone's guess what would happen in elections now and what impact it would have on the economy at a time when a so-called Greekovery is visible on the distant horizon." The decision was taken by ministerial decree, meaning that it can be implemented without immediate reference to parliament. But the communist opposition said it would put a legislative amendment to parliament on Wednesday to annul the decision. Opposition leader Alexis Tsipras was to meet State President Karolos Papoulias to protest against the decision. On Tuesday, he called the closure "a coup, not only against ERT workers but against the Greek people", and accused the government of the "historic responsibility of gagging state TV".

Wait, Greekovery? That's a new (if idiotic) one. Is that abbreviated to "reek"? And in what nation is your GDP crashing to Year 2000 levels indicative of even the faintest "recovery"?

Oh yes, Greece.

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francis_sawyer's picture

It's so nice to get Reuters [Rothschilds] opinion on everything... Second only to a "conviction buy list" from GS...

Doctor of Reality's picture

Lighten up Francis! lol We need our more intelligent (???) benefactors to tell us what to think!

francis_sawyer's picture

Mission Statement: "To dick slap you with the TRUTH, since 1888"

Killtruck's picture

Greece? That thing is still around?

Is there anything left there worth Cyprus'ing?

Political_Savage's picture

Francis you think everyone one is a Zionist Cheesepope except yourself.


francis_sawyer's picture

I'm not a cheesepope because I wasn't on the softball team that I've told you all about... I just heard about them...


But instead of arguing that, we could debate whether or not Rothschild has owned Reuters since 1888...

Political_Savage's picture

Affraid I have no knowlege regarding the matter... do tell.

I see no proof of it. I know it started in the London Exchange around then.

But I'm guessing they were secret owners that drove the publication/telegraph in a slanted fashion... similar to Rupert Murdoch (unless he's a Rothchild puppet as well).

francis_sawyer's picture



here's your link

Political_Savage's picture

Yeah, that looks reputable.


found some great stuff at


You're the ass-clown throwing out conspiracy theory and not backing it up. "Google it," Yeah because if it's on the internet it's true.

You're probably the idiot that posted it. Are you Icke?


THX 1178's picture

Cyprus is an offshore banking polity, greece, not som much,.

TeamDepends's picture

And if you can't/won't see the TRUTH, we will strap your face into a cage of rats...

DaveyJones's picture

I once took a field trip to Congress and felt exactly the same

SimMaker's picture

I'll tell ya now.....I am scared Cheerleaders.

Edward Fiatski's picture

It's only the unions and the journos "striking", I thought the masses were rioting. Meh.

On a relevant note: You NEVER, EVER, NEVER cut the TV Cattle Feed to the masses in times likes these.

i-dog's picture

... unless you are trying to provoke a revolution - as an excuse to impose martial law.

Coming to a state, or two, near you don't laugh too loud (I'm also looking at you Tyler).

Lets_Eat_Ben's picture

Agreed. If I know my dystopian nightmares, they all seem to require a mass, brain-washing infrastructure to pipe in BS all day everyday. How will the Greeks know what to think if you take away their free broadcasts?

Talk about deviating from the script.


SimMaker's picture

"Agreed. If I know my dystopian nightmares, they all seem to require a mass, brain-washing infrastructure to pipe in BS all day everyday." have heard of the BBC then.

smlbizman's picture

is this station more like c-span or pbs.....if its like Propaganda Broadcasting System....than good......

GetZeeGold's picture



public broadcaster was yanked off air


Where are they going to get their propaganda?

Tortfeasor's picture

What's the problem - it's only one station. I got 250 of them,  and there's nothing on.

DaveyJones's picture

so mistaken.

shakespeare has nothing on the shopping channel

even the man said clothes make the man

Snoopy the Economist's picture

Maybe they will revert to placing public announcment (loud speakers) everywhere like NK and really get down to brainwashing.

Mark Urbo's picture

They can take PBS...

..please !

monkeyboy's picture

'The Ministry of Truth' will return shortly, broadcasting a 'new' message of hope!


Coming to the rest of the world very fucking soon.

AndItsGone's picture

Wouldn't that be a submerging market, then?

GetZeeGold's picture



I wouldn't worry....they still have the Euro.

Peter Pan's picture

What readers may not know is that Greek TV stations run on very short term licences from the government. This is done to keep them in line as to what they say and what they allow to be broadcast. In other words they have to tow the official line as much as possible or risk losing their licences.

Pity the government does not apply the same methodology to parliament where 300 bloodsuckers pretend to govern. Given Greece's population of around 11 million this equates to the USA having somewhere around 8000 congressmen and congresswomen.

skistroni's picture

Sorry Peter, but following your logic we should have ... FIVE elected representatives deciding about everything?

I'm not contesting the bloodsuckers bit, in fact I would be willing to add to it some.  

And some more insteresting things from the National TV drama:

  1. The Nazi party (Golden Dawn) support the shutdown of National TV. And ... suddenly people talking about elections? And ... a motion submitted against the government couple of minutes ago? If they break, we will see some weird combinations.
  2. The National TV is being paid for with a special charge, included on the electricity bill of every household in Greece. I'm paying around 400 EUR a year (home and office) for it. There is no talk of waiving the charges now that the TV won't be broadcasting anymore. 
  3. The protests are about the "right" to free journalism, whilst the most popular showings of the National TV by far are Champions' League matches, Basketball League playoffs and Formula 1 races. No journalism involved.
  4. Protesters claim that the Nat. TV was profitable, not mentioning that they already take extra money from everyone (see point 2 above) and that they have offloaded the pension and healthcare funds to the General Budget. 

All in all, it looks like a deliberately provoking move in order to cause something else, which we'll probably see in the next few weeks to months. 


Peter Pan's picture

Skistroni, i get your point but my point was to point out the high number of parliamentarians Greece has.

In any case you may be right about Greece being governed by 5 people.....Merkel, Draghi......and I leave the other three for you to choose.

Nothing is profitable in Greece, either because it is run by government or because it is taxed to death by government.

i-dog's picture

You might also point out the "high number of parliamentarians" the US has....

If you add the 7,395 State Representatives in the US to the 535 in DC, you get a total of 7,930 trough-swillers in the US ... for an apples-to-apples comparison. Just sayin'.

Peter Pan's picture

Greece has hundreds if not thousands of local government politicians as well.

i-dog's picture

Again, you need to compare that with county and municipal representatives in the US.

"The Greek system of government is highly centralized, and the powers of local governments are severely limited by their inability to raise revenue ... they have little administrative responsibility and are primarily involved in education and tourism"

alfa's picture

you tell lyies about the fees you pay for nat pay only 4.75euros per month.

the ceo of nat tv is a politikal monkey who directed all the money of the nat tv to the friends of his political party.


the nat tv is a very good stake to be sold for nothing to individual bitces of the illegal individual channels.

take care about what you are writing instead the truth.



skistroni's picture

I'm all for free speech, but please don't ask me to pay for YOUR free speech. Open a fucking blog for FREE, and post your free speech as much as your wish. Don't shove it down my throat from luxury TV studios (paid by taxpayers) with a bunch of lazy retards sitting around and getting paid (by taxpayers) obscene salaries to work 3-4 hours a week. 

And, you're either trolling about the bills, or you got some special treatment for a reason. Let me know how'd you get that price. 

Shad_ow's picture

Seems like we do but I guess ours are just more efficent in  destruction.

Seasmoke's picture

When you need a root canal. You cannot avoid it. Putting it off only causes more pain.

Peter Pan's picture

Well Greeks have been well and truly rooted and flung in the canal.

No one argues with the need for root canal therapy. The problem is that in the case of Greece and other PIIGS it has been done with virtually no anaesthetic.

In any case one needs to ask if the remedy for bloated government is a Greek style austerity, then why not do the same in the USA.

Monedas's picture

When you need a root canal .... try extraction, first !

SpanishGoop's picture

"when a so-called Greekovery is visible on the distant horizon."

A distant horizon as seen from the Star Trek Enterprice when flying in deep, deep space.


Mark Urbo's picture

That was really funny !  :o)

NoDebt's picture


Any time you need to TELL people they're in a recovery, it's pretty much guaranteed they're not.  Biden's "summer of recovery" comes to mind. 

viator's picture

On to NPR and the BBC!

vegas's picture

Mr. Panos is in crisis mode. When the free cigs and oozo go, look the hell out.

Peter Pan's picture

Did they say Greekovery or did they mean WRECKOVERY?

The fact is that the slide into an abyss will continue for as long as it suits the EU as it strips Greece of assets, sovereignty and hope.

asscannon101's picture

First they run out of free bread, and now the fucking circuses... This won't end well.

Judge Crater's picture

So ERT becomes the Now Unavailable Television Service, NUTS for short.

writingsonthewall's picture

Every nation is only 2 missed meals from revolution.

Maybe that applied in the French revolution - for now it's "every nation also 2 missed nights of TV from a revolution"

pashley1411's picture

This article, like most others, conflates malignant government programs, like a national broadcaster, with a real economic entity, like your neighborhood dime sheet paying the bills off handyman ads.   One is a profit making enterprise, with hard work and luck; the other is a cancer and blight on the economy.   

jowenchrist's picture

OT but i've gotta say the ads on this site have gone to shit - pure unadulterated SHIT - too bad a site with some conviction has now gone Price to Earnings aware - and conviction free -

and can i say FUCK NO to President Christie - are you fucked up or what - mother fuckers - what kinda dope are they feeding people these days ? Mother Fucker !

the not so mighty maximiza's picture

The collapse will not be televised