Dangerous cocktail for press freedom
Press freedom suffered in Greece in 2020. The conservative government led by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis granted generous tax rebates on advertising in the media but sought, directly or indirectly, to control the flow of information closely as part of its efforts to deal with both the coronavirus pandemic and the refugee crisis. Investigative media and media critical of the government were either omitted or were given a disproportionately small share of the advertising resulting from a controversial 20-million-euro public information campaign about the virus. Journalists had to get the government’s permission before reporting in hospitals while the health ministry banned medical staff from talking to the media. In February 2021, public TV channels were ordered not to broadcast video circulating on social media that showed the prime minister disregarding lockdown rules. The police resorted to violence and arbitrary bans to hamper coverage of the refugee crisis on the islands. In Lesbos, journalists were prevented from covering the consequences of the fire at the refugee camp in the town of Moria, while a group of German freelancers were briefly arrested while trying to cover the arrival of new migrants. In Samos, a German documentary film crew was detained without charge and mistreated by police. The Greek public TV channel, which has been directly controlled by the prime minister although the supreme court ruled this to be unconstitutional and is now overseen by the Deputy Minister to the PM, censored reports on the new migrant camps. In Athens, police obstructed photo-journalists covering a commemorative event at the end of 2020 and roughed up a reporter for supposedly violating Covid-19 rules, briefly detaining him. There is concern about the new rules for policing demonstrations, because it designates areas for the press. In April 2021, the community of Greek journalists was shaken by the assassination of the reporter specializing in crime issues Giorgos Karaivaz.
65 in 2020
28.80 in 2020