Taking the helm during a tumultuous time when Greek newspapers are teetering and many journalists are working for reduced, or in some cases, no pay for long periods to time, Maria Antoniadou was elected President of the Greek Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) on Sept. 3, marking the first time a woman is appointed at the helm of the professional organization which was originally established in 1914.
She was chosen by the union’s newly-elected board, while Marilena Katsimi was vote General Secretary. Born in Kozani, northern Greece, Antoniadou has worked at Eleftheros Typos and Ta Nea daily newspapers.
The Greek media is struggling during the country’s economic crisis and many of its newspapers have political agendas, aligning themselves with political and business interests, leaving little room for independent journalism not beholden to special interests.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in June summarily shut down the national broadcaster ERT and fired all 2,656 of its workers to meet the demands of international lenders to reduce the work force. The ERT workers have remained at their posts putting out Internet broadcasts but lost the support of the European Broadcasting Union, which put the signal out on the air, when the government put up a temporary station showing old black-and-white movies and documentaries from 50 years ago to meet a court order to restore ERT.
A permanent replacement national broadcaster is set to begin soon with many of the ERT workers hired back, the government said.