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15 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 15 May 2019 Greece

Greek CNN Reporter Mina Karamitrou's Car Destroyed by Bomb

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ
On 14 May 2019 at about 2:30 a.m., flammable liquid placed under Mina Karamitrou's car exploded, while the car was parked outside the journalist's home in the northern Athens suburb of Papagou, according to local news reports. The car was destroyed but no one was injured, according to the reports. Karamitrou is a police reporter for CNN's Greek edition, according to her author page on the network's website. She also works for private broadcaster OPEN TV. Police have opened an investigation into the bombing, according to Greek news website Skai. CNN Greece condemned the attack in a statement, calling it "an attack on the entire journalistic world." Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos condemned the attack on Twitter, describing it as a "targeting" of freedom of the press, and saying that the perpetrators should be held to account. The Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers condemned the attack stating “violence, threats and blackmail will not force colleagues to shut their mouths”.
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05 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 06 Jul 2018 Greece

Greek Journalist Tony Bosnakoudis Detained when Investigating Police and Bus Company Links to Illegal Traffickers

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 25 May 2018, a Greek journalist, Tony Bosnakoudis, member of the ESPIT Press Union was detained for three hours, until after midnight, by police officers of the Alexandroupolis Police Station belonging to the DIAS Group. Between May 30 and June 22, the journalist was allegedly targeted five times by local police officers who used different means to intimidate him. The journalist was arrested outside of the local Evros Bus Station (KTEL) even though the policemen had seen his press card delivered by ESPIT press union. This incident immediately followed him telling them he was investigating complaints against KTEL and police officers for assisting the trafficking of undocumented and illegally arriving foreigners/migrants sent to Greece by Turkish trafficking networks. ESPIT has denounced the arrest and detainment of its member “noting that this is not the first time that colleagues have been attacked by police forces, during reporting, with inappropriate conduct and abuse of power".
Updates
05 Mar 2019
On 6 July 2018, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the largest organisation of journalists in Europe, representing over 320,000 journalists in 71 journalists’ organisations across 45 countries, has sent an alert to the Council of Europe's platform on the safety and protection of journalists regarding the detention and intimidation against Greek journalist Tony Bosnakoudis. The journalist was investigating and documenting police and a company links to illegal traffic of foreigners/migrants sent to Greece by Turkish trafficking networks. At the police station, the policemen forced him to erase the recorded video showing the traffic and put him under pressure to stop his investigation. Additionally, the journalist was prosecuted and will now appear on trial on 7 March 2019 at the Alexandropoulis Court. In October 2018, the same policemen who were intimidating the journalist were arrested by the Greek authorities and are now accused of being members of a trafficking network.
State replies
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19 Feb 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 19 Feb 2019 Greece

Athens Review of Books faces risk of closure after a politician in defamation case obtained a freeze on its bank accounts

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner AEJ
No state reply yet
Partner AEJ
The literary, cultural and historical journal the Athens Review of Books (ARB) is at risk of being forced to close. A former Greek foreign minister, Nikos Kotzias, has sued the magazine for defamation, for publishing a reader’s letter in 2017, which described Kotzias as a “gauleiter of Stalinism”. The ex-Minister demanded damages of 250,000 euros. He won the lawsuit and the Court awarded him 22,000 euros but, additionally, blocked ARB’s revenues from the press distribution agency and froze the bank accounts of its publisher and chief editor.

The magazine appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that last year Mr Kotzias publicly acknowledged that he had served the ‘Stalinist left’. Meanwhile, the serious risk that the ongoing action will put a leading European cultural publication out of business has prompted an appeal by hundreds of eminent international academics and writers. They have called on top European Union figures, namely the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, to do everything in their power to save the ARB from the threat of closure.

Press freedom advocates have further argued that the persecution of the ARB is an abuse of the ability that Greek law affords to politicians to file lawsuits against the press and request excessive sums of money; and that the latitude provided by Greek law in such circumstances allows politicians to intimidate the press and deter political criticism.
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24 Jan 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 17 Dec 2018 Greece

Terrorist Attack against Skai TV and Khatimerini Newspaper

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ CPJ Index RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ CPJ Index RSF
A bomb blast on 17 December 2018 damaged a building in Athens housing the headquarters of Greece’s private radio and television network Skai and Greek daily newspaper Khatimerini, but there were no casualties. Anti-terrorist police opened an investigation into the attack that focused on Greek extremist groups.
The homemade device went off at around 2:37 am, 45 minutes after an anonymous telephone warning to another TV network. Police cordoned off the neighbourhood in the Athens suburb of Neo Phaliro and evacuated the building, which contains the offices of Skai, a group owned by the Alafouzos shipping family, as well as those of Kathimerini, a centre-right daily critical of the government.
Police said the explosive device was attached to a metal crash barrier on a busy coastal road in the southern Faliro area. The bomb smashed windows on the facade. Nearby apartment buildings and cars were also damaged. Police, who were checking cameras in the area for possible clues on the bombers, also said the device had contained at least five kilograms of explosives.
“The terrorist attack will not discourage us..,” said Skai in a statement, accusing the government of failing to do enough to protect the media despite “recurrent threats against the station.”
The Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN) called on Greek authorities “to identify as soon as possible and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack.”
State replies
24 Jan 2019
Reply from the Greek authorities (information from the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights)
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23 Jan 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 11 Dec 2018 Greece

A Journalist Dismissed Under the Pressure of Supporters of a Football Club

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
The Greek journalist Vangelis Braoudakis was dismissed on 30 November 2018 by the management of the daily "Ethnos", under the pressure of supporters of the football club PAOK, who publicly claimed his dismissal. On 5 October, Radio FM in Thessaloniki devoted two hours of broadcasting to the violent recriminations of the supporters of the PAOK football club against journalist Vangelis Broudakis, accused of being "an enemy of the club". His dismissal was explicitly claimed on the air. The harassment campaign continued on social networks. "Ethnos" ended up dismissing the journalist. The Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN-ESIEA) denounced "this illegal and abusive dismissal", condemning the incessant maneuvers of intimidation of supporters towards journalists.
State replies
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22 Jan 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 22 Jan 2019 Greece

Three Journalists Assaulted by Demonstrators Opposed to Agreement Over Macedonia Name Change

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner Index EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner Index EFJ/IFJ
At least three journalists sustained serious injuries after being assaulted by demonstrators taking part in a protest against the Greek government's decision to agree that the country’s northern neighbour should be renamed North Macedonia, the Athens News Agency reported. The protest was held outside the parliament building on Syntagma Square in Athens. In one incident, a group of far-right demonstrators punched German journalist Thomas Jacobi - who co-produced a 2015 documentary film about the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn - in the face. In another incident, unidentified demonstrators assaulted photojournalist Kostis Dadamis, who sustained a serious head injury. In the third incident, a cameraman was violently assaulted by "extreme elements" and sustained serious injuries as a result.
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09 Nov 2018 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 24 Sep 2018 Greece

Three Fileleftheros Journalists Detained After Defence Minister Files Libel Complaint

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner Index AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ
Partner Index AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ
Three journalists from the Greek newspaper Fileleftheros were detained by police overnight on 22 September after Defence Minister Panos Kammenos filed a libel complaint against the paper over an article that alleged mishandling of EU funds intended to help Greece cope with the migrant crisis. On 23 September they appeared before a prosecutor, who ordered a preliminary investigation to be launched to determine whether libel had been committed and ordered the release of the journalists.
State replies
09 Nov 2018
Response from the Greek authorities (Ministry of Citizen's Protection)
Follow-ups
27 Sep 2018
OSCE Representative denounces arrest of Greek journalists after criminal defamation suit by Defence Minister, urges decriminalization of defamation.
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02 Nov 2018 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 09 Feb 2016 Greece

Greek Journalist Brutally Attacked during Public Rally

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryImpunity
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Greek reporter, Demitrios Perros, working as a freelance journalist for the municipal radio ‘Athens 9,84FM’, was brutally attacked by unknown assailants, on 4 February 2016, while covering a protest rally organised by the public and private sector workers’ confederations, in Athens. According to media reports, the journalist was approached by persons unknown to him on Panepistimiou Street, in the centre of the capital, and asked whether he was a journalist. Following his positive answer, the men started hitting him with wooden planks on the head and the spine while the police stood by without taking any action to intervene. Demitrios Perros was left seriously injured to the head and face and was taken to the Red Cross hospital by colleagues.
Updates
02 Nov 2018
On 2nd November 2018, the partners organisations of the platform decided to transfer this alert to the category of ‘impunity’, based on their assessment of the lack of sufficient progress in the investigation of this case.
State replies
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23 Mar 2018 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 14 Feb 2018 Greece

Greek Sport Journalist Aris Asvestas Assaulted for Second Time

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Journalist Aris Asvestas, sport editor at Sport FM in Athens, was attacked by unidentified assailants on his way home after presenting his programme on 27 January 2018. The attack happened outside a mini market where Asvestas had stopped to buy cigarettes. He was riding a motorbike and, as soon as he removed his helmet, he was set upon by two unknown men who brutally attacked him. The journalist was briefly hospitalised for medical treatment but allowed to return home.

This was the second attack against Aris Asvestas after another incident on 3 September 2012 when he was also attacked outside his home by unknown assailants as he was returning home late from his work at the radio station. His attackers struck when he removed his helmet and hit him with an iron object. No one has been arrested in connection with these incidents.
State replies
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24 Jan 2018 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 22 Dec 2017 Greece

Journalists’ Union ESIEMTH and Two Municipal Media Attacked in Thessaloniki

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 20 December 2017, a hooded group of individuals tried to enter the building of local TV station TV100 and radio station FM100 in Thessaloniki. They did not manage to go beyond the entrance, but broke the windows and damaged vehicles owned by the media which were parked outside the building. One worker was hit with a crowbar and was sent to hospital for a light injury. The twenty assailants also threw paint, and leaflets with slogans against journalists reading: “A broken TV station for every evening news bulletin” and “Journalists, you ruffians”.

The next day at noon, what appears to be the same group of people attacked the Journalists’ Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers's (ESIEMTH) headquarters. The staff were threatened by around ten hooded assailants and asked not to move as the intruders said that “an intervention (was) about to take place”. They destroyed two PCs, a TV set and other material such as chairs and a printer before leaving the office. Similar leaflets to those thrown on the premises of TV100 and FM100 were found. ESIEMTH told the EFJ that the police has launched an investigation.
State replies
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12 May 2017 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 26 Apr 2017 Greece

Attack on Office of Kathimerini in Thessaloniki

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index IPI RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index IPI RSF
Unidentified assailants attacked the office of Kathimerini, a Greek daily, in Thessaloniki on 24 April 2017. Approximately ten masked people stormed the office, threw green paint all over the place and spread leaflets with the message “ A good story is a stone to a journalist’s head,” written on them. The administrative staff who was in the office at the time of the attack called the police after the intruders ignored her pleas to stop and leave. They left before the police arrived.
State replies
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04 Feb 2017 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 12 Jan 2017 Greece

A Greek Newspaper Publisher and Director Charged with Libel

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index IPI RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index IPI RSF
On 10 January 2017, Greek police arrested the publisher and the director of Parapolitika newspaper, Giannis Kourtakis and Panayiotis Tzenos, following a lawsuit filed against them for libel and attempted extortion by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos. The publisher, Giannis Kourtakis, said he went voluntarily to the police headquarters after being informed about the lawsuit, while director Panagiotis Tzenos was arrested by police in his office, in Athens. Panos Kammenos filed a lawsuit against Kourtakis and Tzenos for allegedly libel and attempted extortion through repeated attacks against him made by Parapolitika radio station in order for the minister to withdraw his accusations that Kourtakis and Tzenos received large sums of improper funding from a state health entity. The public prosecutor who investigated the lawsuit dropped charges of criminal extortion. Giannis Kourtakis and Panayiotis Tzenos were released pending trial for alleged libel. The Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers condemned the heavy handed police action when ten officers raided the Parapolitika headquarters and the detained the director.
Updates
04 Feb 2017
On 3 February 2017, the publisher of Parapolitika, Giannis Kourtakis, received a 23-month prison sentence with a three-year suspension. The director of the newspaper, Panayiotis Tzenos, was acquitted by the Court.
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22 Jun 2016 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 22 Jun 2016 Greece

Sport Journalist Kyriakos Thomaidis Faces Arrest after Police Raid on Skai TV's Building

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
On Tuesday 14 June 2016, at midnight, the public prosecutor accompanied with police officers entered the private TV channel Skai in Athens to arrest sport journalist Kyriakos Thomaidis who presents "Court trial at Skai", a programme which addresses controversial issues in Greek sports. The journalist is being sought in connection with a complaint filed by Olympiakos soccer club’s owner Vangelis Marinakis allegedly for defamatory comments in the programme. Officers had earlier attempted to arrest the journalist at the TV station but he refused to follow them, arguing they had no arrest warrant against him. They returned later with the prosecutor but Thomaidis had left after presenting his programme and they spent about 40 minutes searching the premises for him before leaving at around 2.40 a.m., according to reports. Skai TV’s management condemned the midnight raid which they described as “unprecedented” and an “affront to the rule of law and the freedom of the press.”
State replies
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09 Jun 2016 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 16 Mar 2016 Greece

'Golden Dawn' Members Violently Attacked Petros Anastassiades

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On Thursday10 March 2016, journalist Petros Anastassiades was violently attacked and beaten up by neo-nazi 'Golden Dawn' members, while covering a meeting on migration for Rizospastis newspaper at the Regional Council of Attica. The attack occurred while Elias Panagiotaros, a 'Golden Dawn' Member of Parliament, was delivering what media reports called hate speech. The Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN) denounced the “violent, brutal and provocative behaviour of 'Golden Dawn' members’ against journalists”.
State replies
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09 Jun 2016 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 24 Feb 2016 Greece

Police Denies TV Crew Access to Refugee Camp

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ Index
TV journalist Aphroditi Spilioti, his cameraman and a sound engineer were denied access to the refugee camp of Idomeni (Greece) on 23 February 2016. At around 5.30 a.m., Greek police officers asked the TV crew working for the private broadcaster Αlpha Channel to leave the camp “for safety reasons”. The crew moved outside the perimeter of the refugee camp at Idomeni where they still had a view of the ongoing police operation. However, police officers then ordered them to get into their vehicle and to move to a place about 2 km away once again claiming that it was for “safety reasons”. When the journalist and the crew refused to do so, they were asked for their ID cards for verification and then ordered to follow the police vehicle to the police station. After just a few minutes’ drive, the vehicles stopped and the police returned the ID papers to the journalist and her team saying that they had checked their details during the journey. They were allegedly asked not to drive back to the refugee camp.
State replies
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25 May 2016 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 09 Dec 2015 Greece

Journalists Detained and Barred from Entering Idomeni to Report on Treatment of Refugees

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 9 December 2015, according to verified reports from ESIEMTH (EFJ-IFJ affiliate in Greece), at least two Greek journalists and two photojournalists were detained in Idomeni just before the local police started an extended operation to remove refugees from the camp. Under the pretext of personal data authentication, policemen asked journalists to follow them to a police station far away from the field of action in order to prevent media coverage. All detained journalists were released later but access to the camp of Idomeni is still denied to journalists and other NGOs.
Updates
25 May 2016
On 24 May the authorities began the operation to gradually evacuate the Idomeni refugee camp, blocking access to the area and barring all journalists from the operations, with the exception of those working for the Public Broadcaster and the National Press Agency.
State replies
Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer
19 Jul 2018
The right of access to information, a key prerequisite for the freedom of expression
Disclaimer
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02 May 2016 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 02 Apr 2015 Greece

Police Assault Against a Photographer in Greece

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner RSF
Partner RSF
The photographer Manolis Kypraios has brought a lawsuit against the state because he has completely lost his hearing as a result of the blast of a stun grenade that a police officer threw at him in an alley on 15 June 2011 although he identified himself and showed his press card. Kypraios is now permanently handicapped, and therefore has lost his ability to work.
The case was closed by a court at the end of 2014. RSF however ask the authorities and the police to open an internal administrative inquiry.
State replies
Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer
Disclaimer
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Follow-ups to alerts Follow-ups to alerts

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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