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Chaos with the domain of the Greek EU Presidency

10 December 2013 / 22:12:00  GRReporter
3915 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Kostis Lympouridis is one of the most active commentators on the Greek online media as well as in some traditional ones. He is a member of the liberal Drassi party; he graduated in law and he is a business development manager by profession. At the beginning of the year, GRReporter presented his analysis of the consequences of the haircut of Greece's foreign debt for the local banks. Now we are not presenting some of his comments on the political and economic situation in Greece but his personal mishaps related to the judiciary, which are due to the negligence of the government to obtain in time a domain in connection with the Greek rotating presidency of the European Union (EU).

In 2005, he had bought the domain eu2014.gr, complying with all relevant legal procedures and started publishing on it various articles, some of which criticized the Greek government. However, all that remained in the past. Eight years later, only a month before taking over the rotating presidency, the Greek government has decided that the domain name belongs to it and it has resorted to all possible means to "silence" Lympouridis’ website.
 
"I knew that Greece would take over the EU rotating presidency in 2014 and I supposed that the traffic to the website would be significant. I found out that the domain was available and bought it. I did not encounter any problems regarding the procedure and the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission approved the purchase of the domain name. The problems have started a month before the country takes over the EU presidency."

He received a summons to appear in court because the Greek state had submitted a claim for security measures against him, on the grounds that the domain name belonged to him illegally. It however turns out that it is not the name that annoys the government, but the website content.

The texts posted online by Kostis Lympouridis criticized the decisions of the Greek government. "The defender of the state said in court that the main problem was the material about Greece and the European Union posted by me as they were confusing the readers who could have perceived them as positions of the Greek government.

Personally, I think this argument is quite stupid. However, at the end of her speech, she has actually revealed the essence of the problem, saying that if the website content were different the state would not have been annoyed. I.e., the problem lies in what I am writing."

However, the court had not satisfied the request of the state, namely that the domain should be taken from him by the end of Greece’s presidency. "The judges want me to not post anything on the website until 7 January, when the claim filed by the state will lbe considered."

The same day Lympouridis had received another decision, namely that of the Telecommunications and Post Commission. The reason was the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take the domain away from its legal owner. As a result, the website has been stopped and Kostis Lympouridis has been called to give evidence on 11 December.

"The arguments of the Commission are not very different from the arguments of the defender of the state. On the one hand, it accepts the rule that the one who has obtained a domain first can use it but, on the other, it argues that the legitimate interest of the state is greater than my interest. Their logic is that I have nothing to do with this domain whereas the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had used the domain eu2003.gr during the previous presidency."
 
Actually, this is not the first case in which a citizen of a country which is about to take over the EU presidency has been able to obtain a domain before the authorities think of doing so. "In 2003 in Italy a blogger had obtained the domain eu2003.it. According to the newspapers, the Prime Minister of the time, Silvio Berlusconi, had wanted to buy it back but the blogger had insisted on receiving a huge amount. Ultimately, the Italian government had created a new domain, ueitalia2003.it, which had nothing to do with the domains of other presidencies, and used it throughout its presidency. The blogger had used the other domain, sharply criticizing on it the prime minister and the cabinet. I have posted this in my personal Facebook profile to show that a civilized western country had not even thought of forcing the owner of the domain to assign it to the state and had found an alternative without imposing anything," says Lympouridis.

However, his troubles do not endhere. The Telecommunications and Post Commission had forwarded to him a document issued by the Greek service fighting electronic crime. "It says that the apparent intention of the domain name is to discredit the Greek state and its institutions. I.e. the Greek police whose obligation is to monitor compliance with rules are blaming me for something I did not do. I have not discredited anyone. The only thing I did was to republish articles from the press. My goal, as I stated on the website, was to criticize, with good intentions, in order to provoke improvement in the practices and for the country to get closer to the European norms."

Tags: PoliticsGreek presidencyEuropean UnionDomaineu2014.grKostis Lympouridis
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