Mega channel gets last lifeline

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The saga of MEGA Channel continues, as the TV station was offered lifeline by the president of the Council of State,  Nikolaos Sakellariou, suspending the National Broadcasting Council’s decision to order the cease of operation for the country’s first privately owned television station.Once the most popular Greek broadcaster, Mega has been in dire financial straits for several years, when the crisis – stricken banks refused to keep on lending the company. Facing great debt, the station’s fate has been in limbo, while its several hundred remaining employees – journalists, technicians and administration staff – have not been paid for two years. A change in ownership did not result to a change in its finances and for the past couple of years, the station has all but dismantled its news programming, has produced very few entertainment programs and is relying mostly on reruns of its former hit series.This has led the new station’s proprietor, Alter Ego (a company owned by shipping magnate Vangelis Marinakis) to lodge an application for a ‘thematic’ license, to secure its staying on air, until the new national broadcasting licenses are auctioned (after the public failure of the Greek government’s previous attempt to replace the long-expired temporary licenses under which TV stations in Greece have been operating.However, the National Broadcast Council rejected this request, on grounds that Mega had been operating  under a provisional licence as a mostly news-oriented station and the law does not allow for any broadcaster to change program profile, outside the timeframe when licenses are auctioned. The independent authority’s ruling includes an order for the station to cease operation immediately.Alter Ego resorted to the Council of State, arguing that Law 4339/2015 which regulates broadcast licencing in Greece, is unconstitutional and contrary to the European legislation. The CoS chairman temporarily froze the independent authority’s decision, effectively prolongating the station’s operation until at least the 4th of May, when the State Council will discuss the broadcaster’s appeal.last_img