Pointing to Greece's failure to protect press freedom in a new joint report, RSF calls on the European Union to take strong action
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and its international partners publish a comprehensive analysis of the decline of press freedom in the last few years in the country ranked last in the European Union (EU) in the World Press Freedom Index. The European institutions must put pressure on the Greek authorities, passive until now, so that they deliver justice for crimes against journalists, protect them against arbitrary surveillance, physical attacks and gag lawsuits and increase media pluralism.
Stemming the tide of Greek media freedom decline is the title of the comprehensive report about Greece published by RSF together with its partners from the Media Freedom Rapid Response and the Committee to Protect Journalists after their joint mission in the country in September 2023. Presented at a webinar on 30 January, the report analyses the underlying reasons for the deterioration of media freedom in the past few years and makes recommendations for the national and European authorities.
The four curses of the Greek journalism covered by the report are:
- arbitrary surveillance of at least 13 media professionals by the National Intelligence Service and with the Predator spyware;
- gag lawsuits and legal threats, especially in the context of the defamation lawsuits against journalists who made revelations on the “Predatorgate”;
- threats to the safety of journalists and impunity of crimes committed against them with a focus on the 2021 assassination of Giorgos Karaivaz;
- and lack of media pluralism and independence.
"The detailed report provides evidence about the dire straits of press freedom in Greece, but also about the lack of national measures to address it. While we make specific demands to the Greek authorities, we now expect a much stronger action from the European institutions. The European Commission, Parliament and Europol must work with Greece towards bringing justice for the crimes committed against journalists, protecting them against arbitrary surveillance, physical attacks and gag lawsuits, as well as increasing media pluralism. If Greece fails to comply, the discussion about the suspension of its EU funds should no longer be a taboo.
The publication will be submitted to the Members of the European Parliament ahead of the vote on the resolution on press freedom in Greece scheduled for 7 February.
Greece is ranked 107th in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index, last in the EU.