Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Greece: Golden Dawn members threaten journalists covering murder case of Greek artist


7 October 2013
International Federation of Journalists 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have condemned the intimidation of journalists in Greece covering the 'Golden Dawn' revelations and given their full support to Greek colleagues who are continuing to cover the case despite the threat of violence.

According to IFJ/EFJ affiliate, the Journalists Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN), Greek journalists covering the Golden Dawn murder case have been threatened and attacked by MPs and members of the far-right Greek party.

The case is focused on the murder of a young Greek hip hop artist by a member of the Golden Dawn party on 18 September 2013. As a result, the party's leader, Nikos Mihaloliakos, and party members were arrested. Miholiakos was remanded in custody on charges of organising a criminal group.

"We strongly condemn these attempts to threaten and intimidate Greek journalists covering developments in the Golden Dawn case," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "These are blatant attempts to use harassment and fear to silence the media and cannot be tolerated.

"We call on the authorities in Greece to step up their efforts to fight impunity and protect the safety of all journalists working in the country so they can continue to carry out their jobs."

The JUADN says the attacks on journalists have worsened over the last few days, with reports that a cameraman was punched on one occasion, while one of the Golden Dawn MPs released on bail yesterday is alleged to have attacked a journalist when leaving the court house in Athens.

At its World Congress in June, the IFJ adopted a resolution which noted with alarm Golden Dawn's "terror campaign against journalists and media organisations" for exposing the party's "Neo-Nazi and Neo-Fascist views, practices and activities" and "reporting and revealing the criminal dealings and actions of Golden Dawn members of the Greek parliament who initiate hatred among the different sections of society..."

The resolution called on the incoming IFJ Executive Committee to initiate an "International Watch Against Spreading Racist Hate" (IWASRH), in order to record, denounce and campaign against Neo-Nazi and Neo-Fascist actions which targets journalism, journalists, media organisations, IFJ members and other civil society organisations and activities. It also proposed the IFJ, in collaboration with Greek unions, organise the first IWASRH meeting to purse these objectives.

"It is very worrying to hear of these attacks against journalists who are being bullied and harassed for reporting stories that are in the public interest," said EFJ President Mogens Blicher-Bjerreg√•ard. "We stand in solidarity with our colleagues who are standing up for press freedom and refuse to bow to such cowardly acts of intimidation. However, we also urge our colleagues to remain vigilant and to ensure they protect their own safety at all times."