Greek broadcaster opens Arabic language channel for refugees

© Marko Djurica
Greek state broadcaster ERT TV has responded to the influx of Middle Eastern and North African refugees by launching its own Arabic news bulletin, called ‘News for Refugees’.

The project has been jointly decided on by ERT and the news agency ANA-MPA, and has been hailed as a step in the right direction. The show aims to smooth newcomers into their new lives and keep them up to date with an Arabic program they ordinarily would only get back home.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras welcomed the initiative on his official Twitter account.

The program has officially kicked off on Wednesday.

"The administration thought it would be useful for the refugees and migrants to have a news broadcast in Arabic covering issues that concern them,” news anchor for the Greek language edition, Walid Elias says. "There were reactions from the first moment we went on air from the well-known boys of Golden Dawn, who are a fascist organisation,” he adds.

The initiative goes beyond just informing refugees, also aiming to give them a sense of unity and to mobilize them, explain regional coordinator for ERT, G. Papazachariou.

Another initiative started this month was the website by ANA-MPA, also in Arabic, which serves as a source for news and other useful information. There will often be news of the goings on at the Idomeni refugee camp, as well as news on border shutters. There is also multimedia, maps and other features a comprehensive site might have, as well as local Greek news.