The Greek government announced on Tuesday that it will shut down radio and TV services from state broadcaster ERT in order to save money.
More than 2,000 employees will be suspended until the company reopens “as soon as possible” after transmissions cease early on Wednesday.
Crowds of ERT employees gathered outside its Athens headquarters after the announcement, calling for a general media blackout in protest and vowing to fight the decision.
The suspension is the latest and one of the most drastic moves to cut spending as part of austerity measures imposed on Greece as a condition of its bailout.
“At a time when the Greek people are enduring sacrifices, there is no room for delay, hesitation or tolerance for sacred cows,” government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said in a televised statement aired on the state broadcaster.
Kedikoglou, a former state TV journalist himself, said that employees will be compensated during the closure, describing ERT as a “haven of waste.”
“ERT is a typical example of unique lack of transparency and incredible waste. And that ends today,” Kedikoglou said. “It costs three to seven times as much as other TV stations and four to six times the personnel — for a very small viewership, about half that of an average private station.”