The 73rd General Assembly of the European Broadcasting Union has accepted new Greek state broadcaster NERIT into its ranks as an active member. This means that Greece will now participate in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, bringing the number of countries so far confirmed for Vienna to 39.
It could be said that the EBU’s decision echoes the spirit of Building Bridges, motto of the 60th Eurovision Song Contest. The news was announced on the official website of the European Broadcasting Union and reads as follows:
‘ (…) Following the Greek government’s decision to shut down the former EBU Member ERT on 11 June 2013 citing financial pressures, a new media law was passed. The new broadcaster (NERIT) set up under that law began nationwide transmissions on 4 May 2014.
In the intervening months, the EBU worked strenuously to re-establish a functioning public service media (PSM) for Greek audiences.
EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre said the Greek government had in that time recognized "the indispensable role PSM plays in the national ecosystem".
"What we’ve seen is that it takes a very short time to close down a public broadcaster," said Ms Deltenre, "and that the process of establishing a new trusted and well-functioning PSM is painful, lengthy and expensive. NERIT has far to go. But we believe we can be of greater support to a broadcaster functioning from within rather than outside the Union."
NERIT was recommended for Active EBU Membership status following scrutiny by the EBU Statutes Group and the EBU Executive Board.
EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot said that since the abrupt closure of ERT, the organisation’s former staff, Greek citizens and the EBU community had strenuously lobbied for the Greek government to create a new public service broadcaster.
"The fact that today we have a public service broadcaster in Greece is attributable to one thing – the collective determination of past and present employees, the Greek public and the might of the EBU community," Mr Philippot said. "Having Greece back in the Union is a good thing for the strength, diversity and cohesion of the EBU community as well as for the survival of the country’s public service media values."
Mr Philippot said that the EBU would assist NERIT’s development to perform to the highest standards with the objective to serve the public interest.
"We are committed to providing ongoing assistance to NERIT through the EBU’s activities and services, but will remain vigilant concerning their compliance to the Union’s values," he said. "To this end, I am glad that NERIT is willing to demonstrate its commitment to the core PSM values by submitting itself for a peer-to-peer review. This is something we encourage every one of our Members to do." (…)
NERIT’s admission to the EBU from 1 January now means Greece will participate in next year’s 60th anniversary Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria on 19, 21 and 23 May.’
One would imagine that Greek Eurovision fans can now heave a sigh of relief…
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