The Greek Journalist Union (ESHEA) said on Friday it would continue a media blackout until early next week in a show of solidarity for fired colleagues at state broadcaster ERT.
Journalists working for television, radio, print and online media were to remain on strike until the early hours of June 18 in support for about 2,500 ERT employees who are set to lose their jobs.
Only media carrying ERT’s signal and showing programmes produced by staff in defiance of the government shutdown would be exempt from the strike, ESHEA said.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on Thursday put ERT back on air, saying it had successfully linked a live 24-hour pirate broadcast produced by fired ERT journalists to satellite subscribers in Greece, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
The move was a clear challenge to Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who decided to shut down the public broadcaster on Tuesday as part of the country’s austerity measures, having accused it of “extravagant spending and a lack of transparency”. EBU President Jean-Claude Philippot was scheduled to meet with Mr. Samaras in Athens on Friday to discuss the issue.
The decision to close ERT, which was opposed by the Prime Minister’s two coalition partners — the socialist PASOK and the Democratic Left party — is seen as the biggest crisis facing the one year-old government.
Coalition leaders are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss their differences over the way ERT should be handled.
Unless a compromise is found, there is a risk of the government breaking up and new elections being called, a procedure that would place an ongoing budget austerity process at risk, endangering future international bailout payments.
Greece has carried out a series of austerity measures, including tax hikes and wage and pension cuts, since it received its first tranche of emergency aid from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Athens is now under increasing pressure to fire thousands of civil servants as part of its commitments to bailout lenders.