Hubris /ˈhjuːbrɪs/, also hybris, from ancient Greek ὕβρις, means extreme pride or arrogance (from Wikipedia). You would think that a Greek prime minister of all people would know the word and tread more carefully. Yet Mr. Samaras decided to shut down the national broadcasting company of Greece, i.e. the public service with perhaps the greatest ability to sway public and international opinion, at a time when the patience of Greek citizens and that of his coalition partners are already wearing thin (Greek source).
After the liberalization of the TV landscape in Greece, ERT (EPT – Ελληνική Ραδιοφωνία Τηλεόραση) has become less important than it once was, but it is still pretty much synonymous with television in the country. Not that ERT commands a huge audience, but it would be somewhat difficult to imagine a TV landscape without the state broadcaster. ERT is financed (partly or wholly, I do not know) through taxation. Not everyone in Greece is happy about paying a TV tax that is subsidizing the national broadcaster, especially with ERT not being anymore the dominant source of news and entertainment. Some would prefer not to pay. Some would be happy with a media landscape that consists of purely private broadcasters. Some harbor a deeply rooted and partly justified suspicion of all things public sector. It is a common belief, both in the country, and internationally, that the institutions comprising the Greek public sector are, let’s say, not the most efficient and productive of institutions, owing to decades of mismanagement and politically motivated job placements.
But these are all known issues that countless others have written about, even more so after Greece became synonymous with mismanagement in the public imagination, after the public debt crisis of 2009. Here is where it gets interesting: it is possible that ERT is run inefficiently and that it is overstaffed. I do not know for sure. It is also possible that the politically conservative Mr. Samaras was fed up with the current state of affairs at the broadcaster and under EU pressure to cut civil service jobs he pushed ahead with the most drastic means possible after worker unions left him with little other choice, as some commentators have argued. But no matter what your stance on the topic, I believe you will agree with me that it is impossible to shut down the national broadcasting company of a country without impinging on the ability of the media to fulfill their social role.