Thursday

23rd Mar 2017

Greek media protest government censorship

Media outlets in Greece plan a 24-hour general strike on Wednesday (31 October) in response to deteriorating press freedoms and cuts in social security and labour rights.

The planned protest follows a two-hour blackout on Tuesday morning at the state broadcaster ERT. ERT management had suspended two of its top presenters on Monday after they criticized interior minister Nikos Dendias.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Greek media stage a general strike to protest government censorship and weakening labour rights (Photo: AK Rockefeller)

The presenters had admonished state enforcement authorities for having beaten detained left-wing activists. The activists were apprehended during a rally against racism.

The Panhellenic Federation of Journalists’ Unions (Poesy) had warned on Monday it would “escalate the protests for our right to freedom of information” should state broadcaster not immediately reinstate the suspended broadcasters.

Poesy has followed through on its warning.

Hours after the black-out, Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras filed an amendment that could also undermine a health insurance and pension scheme for media, says Poesy on its website.

It is the second general media strike in Greece this month but the latest rally comes on the heels of the arrest of Greek investigative journalist Kostas Vaxevanis.

State authorities on Sunday arrested Vaxevanis for disclosing the names of some 2,000 prominent Greeks who had allegedly hidden away their wealth in HSBC accounts to avoid paying taxes.

Prosecutors accuse Vaxevanis of breaching privacy laws and are set to go on trial Thursday. His lawyers say he could face a €30,000 fine and a minimum one year in prison if found guilty, reports the New York Times.

"We did not even allege that these individuals were guilty, only called for an investigation," said Vaxevanis in the Guardian.

The assault on press freedoms in Greece has raised serious concerns among pro-free speech organizations.

“The quick and aggressive reaction to Vaxevanis for exposing potential tax evasion is an abominable assault on the public's right to hold government to account,” said the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists in a statement on Tuesday.

The Paris-based Reporters without Borders ranks Greece’s press freedom media index as second to worst in the EU after Bulgaria.

Opinion

The austerity blame game

Public broadcasting is a crucial public service and a central means of embracing participatory democracy through well informed citizens.

Dutch plan global fund for safe abortion

The Dutch want to lead efforts to make up the shortfall in aid for safe abortions around the world, after Donald Trump announced the US would not fund such projects.

Column / Health Matters

The yin and yang of Chinese medicine

Can traditional Chinese medicine help the modern European patient? Malta thinks so, in a new agreement with China.

News in Brief

  1. Man arrested in Antwerp after trying to mow people down
  2. Marine Le Pen goes to Russia
  3. Dutch post-election talks prioritise green-right coalition
  4. EU summons Turkish envoy over threats to Europeans
  5. British police make first arrests in London terror probe
  6. EU commission has received Facebook reply on WhatsApp
  7. Rome expects thousands of protesters at summit
  8. Dijsselbloem says his comments had 'Dutch directness'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  2. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  4. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  5. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  6. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  8. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  9. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  10. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  11. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change
  12. European Free AllianceSupporting Artur Mas: Democracy and Freedom Cannot Be Convicted

Latest News

  1. Hohe Cyber-Bedrohung für Frankreichs Wahlen
  2. 'No zero terror risk', EU security commissioner warns
  3. UN could step in where EU fails in child migrant protection
  4. May: London attacker was known to the police
  5. Ending the migrant deal with Turkey may save the EU
  6. Poland unlikely to face EU discipline on rule of law
  7. Rutte courted Wilders' voters, now he must deliver
  8. Barnier to UK: trade talks will come after settling accounts