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Thursday 20 June 2013

More truths and lies about ERT: was government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou an ERT employee?

In the statement he delivered in the evening of Tuesday 11 June on behalf of the government, when the shutdown of Greece's public broadcaster ERT was officially announced, spokesman Simos Kedikoglou justified the government's decision by saying, among other things: "The Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, ERT, is a typical case of unique opacity and incredible waste of public money (...) It is governed by opacity in the sector of contract management."

The irony of this statement was not lost on ERT staff, who were prompt to note that Simos Kedikoglou was himself recruited as an ERT journalist in 1995, at a time when his father, Vasilis Kedikoglou, was a member of parliament with then-governing party PASOK. This was also denounced by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, in response to whom Kedikoglou's office published a statement, that was reported by To Ethnos newspaper on 14 June:

As noted by his collaborators, Mr. Kedikoglou was never appointed at ERT. Quite the opposite, he worked at ERT on a fixed-term contract, "and his first job was a night shift from midnight to 6 am during the first Gulf War."
"ERT was then looking for journalists who speak foreign languages, who were uncommon at the time, for the needs of its round-the-clock coverage, and Mr. Kedikoglou speaks fluent English, French and Russian." (...) [1]
In an article published today on, former ERT news director Giorgos Kogiannis chose to expose Mr. Kedikoglou by releasing the document that ratified Mr. Kedikoglou's recruitment by ERT on an open-ended contract - meaning that Mr. Kedikoglou was recruited by ERT as, essentially, a civil servant with tenure.

Kogiannis further notes that Kedikoglou's recruitment came at a time when hundreds of ERT employees were on two-month contracts and were being paid with delays of several months. By the time a decree by then-Minister of Interior Prokopis Pavlopoulos gave permanent positions to temporary workers in the civil service in 2006, some journalists had been on short-term contracts for 25 years (implying, also, that these journalists constantly risked being fired if they didn't toe the government line). In 1995, no open-ended positions were available in the Greek civil service at large, meaning that Kedikoglou's position was created specifically for him. Kedikoglou was subsequently sponsored by ERT to attend training with CNN, before finally joining a talk show on private TV station MEGA.

[1] Editor's note CORRECTED: This post initially mistranslated the Greek expression "γερμανικό νούμερο" as "German-language coverage" It actually means night shift. 

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