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Small bombs target journalists' homes in Athens

Posted by South East Europe Media Organisation

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is alarmed at reports of bombs being placed outside the homes of a number of journalists in Athens, Greece, on 11 January 2013.

Small homemade bombs, made with the use of gas canisters, exploded in the early morning hours on 11 January 2013 in front of the homes of five Greek journalists in the Athens districts of Lycavittos, Aghia Paraskevi, Alimos, Maroussi and Penteli. According to the Greek authorities, among the journalists targeted were Antonis Liaros, George Oikonomeas, Antonis Skyllakos, Petros Karsiotis and Chris Konstas. In each case, the explosion damaged the entrance of the building. No one was injured. In the case of Oikonomeas the attack was in front of his former residence.

The anarchist group “Lovers of Lawlessness" said the attacks were to protest coverage of the country's financial crisis seen as sympathetic to the government,

“This is an attempt to openly terrorise the media, a vital part of our democracy," said Simos Kedikoglou, the Greek government's spokesman. He noted the attacks came a day after protesters barged into a radio station. Two days after this statement, on 13 January, the home of the spokesman's brother was targeted when a group of unknown perpetrators broke a window of the residence of George Kedikoglou in Athens and threw in a molotov cocktail, starting a small fire.

“This is a new, worrying escalation of violence against media and journalists in Greece. SEEMO is alarmed at the number of violent cases and different forms of pressure directed at journalists in Greece over the past 12 months", said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic.

According to SEEMO there were 38 cases of press freedom violations or attacks on journalists in Greece in 2012.  SEEMO calls on the authorities in Athens to urgently investigate the attacks, and to find the perpetrators and any masterminds.

Vienna, 14 January 2013

DATELINE: 3 September, 2014


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15 January 2013

IFJ and EFJ Call for Media Protection after Series of Serious Safety Incidents in Greece

Today the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) called for strong action from Greek authorities to protect media after a series of violent attacks against journalists and media organisations which took place in recent days.

“It is important that in time of crisis everybody respects press freedom. This concerns the authorities but also citizens who, for whatever reason, may feel resentment towards the establishment,” said EFJ President Arne Kφnig.

Early morning on Friday 11 January 2013, the homes of five journalists and members of the EFJ/IFJ affiliate, the Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN), were subjected to arson attacks by anarchist groups.

According to press reports, these and other acts of violence targeting journalists and news media during the same week were claimed to be a protest against the media coverage of the economic crisis in the country which these groups considered skewed in favour of the government.

In the meantime, on Saturday 12 January, journalists covering the court appearances of people arrested on suspicion of membership of the “Villa Amalia”, one of the radical groups in Athens, were prevented from entering the courts by the police.

JUADN President, Dimitris Trimis, declared in a statement that “the policy of creating tension seems practiced systematically by government officials and it is currently in progress. The authorities are exploiting reckless attacks on freedom of expression to distract the public opinion from the core values of democracy.”

The other EFJ/IFJ affiliate, the Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers' Union (ESIEMTH) also strongly condemned the attempt to terrorise the media and called on the government and all of political parties to” unite in combating these phenomena and in safeguarding the democratic right to freedom of expression."

“The authorities should oppose the spread of violence, discrimination and poverty in the country and take action to stop all sorts of provocation. But it is also the role of democratic institutions to react vigorously to protect press freedom,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “For this reason, we condemn the ban on journalists to enter the court.”

The EFJ and IFJ have expressed their solidarity with the colleagues whose homes were attacked and asked for a full investigation to bring to justice those who committed these attacks.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 2207

Posted by: Barry White: 18 Jan, 2013 10:48:33

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