Greece was hit with radio silence Monday, as broadcast and print media embarked on a 24-hour strike to protest against wage cuts and layoffs amid the debt-ridden country's new austerity drive.
Hundreds of journalists, technicians and other press employees turned out at a demonstration in central Athens, carrying banners and decrying the "mediaeval conditions" in the news sector.
"We were asked to sign contracts with a 25-percent salary reduction, which nullifies the collective agreement," said technician Fotini Karagoussi, who has been working for the private radio channel Alpha for 13 years.
"Alpha staffing now stands at 30 people, compared to 130 five years ago," she added. Dimitri Trimis, the head of the union of Athens daily newspaper staff (Esiea), said the sector had been struck by "a new attack against journalists' rights, which threatens democracy."
The demonstration follows a wave of strikes this month by professionals of all stripes -- doctors, judges, professors, police officers, firemen, soldiers -- ahead of a 24-hour general strike planned for Wednesday by the country's two main labour unions.
Greece and its international creditors are currently in talks to identify 11.5 billion euros ($15 billion) in savings and a further 2.0 billion euros in increased revenue that are necessary to unlock a new EU-IMF loan instalment of 31 billion euros.