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SYRIZA prosecutes journalists for criticizing the government

09 July 2015 / 19:07:59  GRReporter
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In a totally unacceptable and unprecedented manner the Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers has attempted to violate press freedom in Greece. Obviously serving the interests of party journalism, and not only, the Union has done what is unthinkable - it has started chasing those journalists who dared to do their job and to tell the truth to their fellow citizens.

While the dramatic events are confirming the position of Skai TV and almost of all media, while Greece is on the verge of exiting the euro zone, as indicated by the latest summit, the Journalists’ Union is occupied with the persecution of journalists.

In particular, the Disciplinary Council of the Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers has initiated legal proceedings against nine journalists for misinforming and terrorizing the Greek people. The journalists are News General Manager at Skai TV Stamatis Malelis, Aris Portosalte, Dimitris Economou, Nikos Konitopoulos also of Skai, Olga Tremi, Yiannis Pretenderis, Maria Sarafoglou and Manolis Kapsis of MEGA TV, and Maria Houkli of ΑΝΤ1 TV. The list of persecuted does not end there. It is expected that the Union will initiate disciplinary proceedings against another 20 journalists, news broadcasters.

All this is because the persons mentioned previously, and not only them, have told people the truth and warned of the risk of the country leaving the euro zone, as all European leaders and factors in the euro zone have as well emphasized.

These journalists are facing unprecedented accusations, namely "disseminating misleading news", "false allegations", "copying the blackmailing positions of foreign creditors", and the Union leadership is accusing them of being at the head of the mass attempt to terrorize citizens.

The disciplinary proceedings are the result of numerous allegations by senior government officials against the specific media employing these journalists.

Stamatis Malelis has reacted sharply via a post on Facebook, "You will not stop me speaking, whatever you are doing. Every government has failed and so will you. There is a huge difference between us. I have worked my whole life while you have warmed your party chairs. You are wasting your time with these threats. I am not afraid. Whoever of you wants to present arguments is welcome, I am here!"

The reply of Skai:

"Skai has established an increasing number of attempts to intimidate the media and their employees on the part of bodies that have self-proclaimed themselves as bearers of the only truth. Turning journalists into targets and the atmosphere of bans through disciplinary proceedings against journalists for their views, the personal insults by anonymous publications and the Internet, as well as the systematic slanderous attacks by representatives of the ruling coalition against "unlikable" media are already creating an unprecedented atmosphere of fanaticism and intolerance. All these actions have one goal, that is to silence what is ‘different’, every ‘different’ opinion and to conceal the ‘annoying’ news and the truth.

Skai TV declares it will oppose such an act of diversion from the democratic achievements in the work of the press and media.

It has already taken the initiative to inform the public and political authorities, and the international organizations that protect the freedom of speech and press, the Council of Europe that guarantees the European Convention on Human Rights (in particular Art. 10 Freedom of the press) being our first objective.

Meanwhile, it is clear that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ close associates dream of a Greece like in Orwell's work, with controls over the media and eliminated freedom of expression and, of course, of any outside criticism against the government.

In a post on his personal Facebook account, Christoforos Vernardakis, a chief secretary for coordinating the work of the government, former head of pollster VPRC and close associate of the Prime Minister, defines as "important" the control over the information provided by the private media.

With this comment, Vernardakis ends a long post that underlines the need for re-establishing and controlling the trade unions.

This opinion of Christoforos Vernardakis comes as a continuation of the provocative behaviour of senior officials, even of ministers from SYRIZA, against journalists and private media.

One inevitably wonders what the next step will be of a government that since the first months after taking power has demonstrated such indifference to basic freedoms that were gained years ago.

Indeed, what will the next step be?


Tags: SYRIZACriticismPersecutionJournalistsDisciplinary proceedings
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