Restructuring of Greek Radio and Television Corporation will lead to a reduction in state TV and radio channels.
4.2.6 Media pluralism and content diversity
Since the late 1980s, the Greek audiovisual media sector is organised in two tiers: the public radio and television broadcasting, represented by ERT (the Greek Radio and Television corporation), and a large number of private radio and television channels. There is legislation putting restrictions on the ownership of media by companies or individuals having other large-scale financial interests, which, however, is currently under review as it does not conform to EU free market provisions. There are also two competing digital satellite TV and radio services, bundling together a large number of international and Greek channels; cable does not exist in Greece.
Private TV channels cannot be said to have a cultural agenda (although the positive portrayal of economic immigrants and Roma people in recently screened sitcoms may be noteworthy), and rare experiments in niche arts programming have not met with commercial success. On the other hand, the public broadcasting corporation ERT has an educational and cultural agenda described in its official mission: "to develop public radio and television through the production of high quality programmes which promote impartial and full information, diversity, entertainment, preservation of historical memory, promotion of Greek and world culture, and eradication of xenophobia and racism".
Among the three public TV channels, entertainment-oriented NET and regional-focus, Thessaloniki-based ET3, regularly commission and broadcast programmes of cultural interest, including, cultural and historical documentaries, adaptations of literary and theatrical works for TV, and cultural magazinos. They also broadcast Greek and international quality films, musical events and other programmes of cultural interest. The programmes of the satellite channel ERT-SAT, transmitted in the Greek language and intended for the Greek Diaspora, include a strong component of predominantly Greek cultural programming; among three digital terrestrial channels launched by the state broadcaster, PRISMA is notable in providing arts and general interest programmes for people with hearing disabilities, i.e., with captioning and / or sign language simultaneous translation.
Of the two dozen nation-wide and regional radio stations in the public broadcasting system, Radio Cosmos specialises in multicultural, folk and ethnic music from all over the world. The 3rd programme focuses on Classical music, but also hosts jazz and traditional music, literature, and arts programmes. Most radio stations follow, in practice, a zone system allocating several hours of broadcasting per day to Greek music. In addition, public radio has regular programmes for migrant worker communities, transmitted in languages other than Greek, and a short wave programme transmitted globally.
In the field of cinema, the Greek Film Centre, a corporation supervised by the Ministry of Culture, has re-focussed itself firmly as a development agency for Greek film. It now co-finances on average 15 feature films, 15 shorts and 5 documentaries yearly (films in the Greek language and / or made by people of Greek nationality or origin), supports a regional network of movie theatres screening Greek and European Union films, encourages synergies between private and public sector, and otherwise supports the development of Greek cinema.
To put the role of public media organisations in context, it should be noted that public television channels are watched by only ca. 10% of all viewers, while the preferences of the majority of viewers lie with international brand reality shows, Greek and imported sitcoms, and standard entertainment industry films shown by the private channels. Also, English-language pop music is the predominant genre heard on radio and television (although Greeks were found by a 2002 Eurobarometer special survey on culture to listen extensively to local music as well). While public media organisations do see themselves in a cultural or educational role, it is apparent that television, radio and cinema are perceived by the public mostly as entertainment.
There is no evidence on training for journalists intended to educate them in new multicultural realities. However, an increasing number of university graduates, who have received extensive social science education, is employed by the media.