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NUJ, IFJ and EFJ call for media protection after incidents in Greece

15 January 2013

The NUJ has joined the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) in a call for strong action from the Greek authorities to protect media staff following a series of violent attacks on journalists.

The homes of five journalists and members of the Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Newspapers were subjected to arson attacks by groups calling themselves anarchists. According to press reports, these and other acts of violence were a protest against the media coverage of the economic crisis in the country, which these groups considered pro-government. The NUJ, IFJ and EFJ have asked for a full investigation to bring to justice those who committed the attacks.

Arne König, EFJ president, said:

"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."

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.

The Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers' Union strongly condemned the attempt to terrorise the media and called on the government and all political parties to "unite in combating these phenomena and in safeguarding the democratic right to freedom of expression".

Jim Boumelha, IFJ president said:

"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. For this reason, we condemn the ban on journalists to enter the court."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"It is vital that journalists are free to do their jobs without fear of violence and intimidation. We will be backing the IFJ's efforts to ensure that the Greek authorities investigate the attacks on media workers. It is also essential that journalists are not blocked from being able to report these court cases."

Tags: press freedom, efj, violence, ifj, greece