There is room for different opinions of the Greek public broadcaster ERT. To some, most obviously its several thousand staff, it represented both their livelihood and a generally reliable and independent voice. To others, it was a featherbedded organisation, riddled with restrictive practices and nepotism, that stubbornly resisted reform.
But what no one can deny is that its summary closure this week looks like a high-handed act of government interference. If the intention was to convince creditors of Greece’s commitment to sound public finances, there were surely better means to achieve that end.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras says the government wants to rebuild what he called a broken organisation and will reopen a leaner, fitter operation by September. Greece, he said, would not be without a public broadcaster. He must be kept to his word. It is at times of crisis, such as Greece is experiencing, that an independent public broadcaster is most needed.