Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire is flying to Athens today to meet with Greek journalists, including representatives of state broadcaster ERT, whose three TV stations were abruptly shut down by the government last night.
Deloire will hold a news conference on the current state of freedom of information in Greece outside ERT headquarters at 11:00 AM tomorrow (08:00 GMT).
He also plans to meet with Dimitris Trimis of the EYSEA journalists’ union, Theodora Oikonomudes of alternative citizen radio station Radiobubble, Kostas Vaxevanis, a journalist who is being tried for publishing part of the “Lagarde List” of suspected tax dodgers, and Lefteris Xaralambopoulos, a journalist who received death threats after investigating contraband oil shipments.
A meeting with the information minister has also been requested.
Reporters Without Borders issued a statement earlier today expressing its dismay at the government’s bizarre decision to shut down ERT’s three TV stations while the state broadcaster is overhauled.
Greece has fallen almost 50 places in the past three years in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, a record fall in such a short period for a European Union member state.
The reasons include violence against reporters covering anti-austerity demonstrations, which goes completely unpunished, and threats against journalists and other news providers by the Golden Dawn party’s neo-Nazis.
Against this backdrop, the closure of ERT’s TV stations has dealt a devastating blow to pluralism and freedom of information in Greece.