Most Common Censorship Issues in Greece

Greece has seen a rapid decline in its fortunes in the past decade or so.

The country’s financial crisis of recent years has made it a figure of misfortune and tragedy, but the country’s own censorship over the years has made things worse steadily.

Greece was always at the front of revolution, whether it was technological or philosophical, but recent censorship issues have pegged its status down.

While the country had online anonymity laws for bloggers and reporters, all that has changed in the past decade, making reporting a dangerous occupation for individuals.

Censorship Issues in Greece

  • Censorship in Greece can be traced to 2010 when Troktiko journalist Sokratis Giolias was dragged out of his home and shot 16 times from close range. Troktiko was the most popular news blogs in the country and often reported on scandalous news pieces.
  • The next big case was the imprisonment of Hot Doc publisher Kostas Vaxevanis. He was the one who published the Lagarde list, a list of over 2,000 Greek nationals who owned HSBC accounts in Switzerland to evade taxes. Many of these were politicians, industry owners, and their relatives. While he had published the report so that the government could take action against them, it was he who was imprisoned for violation of privacy. All this came despite the same report being submitted by IMF head Christine Lagarde in 2010.
  • The next case is of the imprisonment of blogger with pseudonym Geron Pastitsios in 2012 for running a Facebook page that satirised Elder Paisios. His posts were charged with malicious blasphemy and he was sentenced to 10 months in prison.
  • Golden Dawn has been at the centre of many physical and legal violence cases against reporters who publish or document anything about their members. They as well as police authorities have gone physical against many journalists to silence them.
  • In 2013, many prosecutors used transcripts from phone calls they had wiretapped without any legal right. The lines belonged to members of the criminal organization according to the prosecutors.
  • In 2013 journalist Tasos Tataroglou was arrested when he released the video of an openly helped municipal council meeting in a suburb of Athens. In that particular meeting one of the members had made public accusations against the journalist.
  • Popi Christodoulidou was charged for publishing sensitive information relating to coast guard divers being used to guard land targets. She published the report on her blog in 2014 and was charged against articles 143, 144, and 195.

Rise of Censorship

With the country going in financial crisis recently, journalists were discouraged from reporting on public rallies against government practise.

Social media accounts of activists were blocked and used against them, while police and authorities clashed physically with protestors quite frequently.

Many journalists have left their news room and offices and joined ranks with other journalists on the run to have some semblance of freedom when reporting on the news in their country.

Even Wikipedia and Twitter accounts of alleged miscreants have been filed charges against by politicians and businessmen in Greece.

Whenever they find anything against them in the media, they make it a point to have the source blocked from the masses and the creator of the post is taken action against.

Greece has been considered one of the most corrupt countries in the EU for many years, but it had online privacy and freedom.

The recent years have seen its status fall by many places and its ranking in the online freedom charts has followed suit.

The only way for journalists and reporters to follow their duty is by hiding behind VPNs in Greece.

The politicians and industry owners do all they can to always appear in the best possible limelight in the media.

The country’s journalism has gotten much worse in the past decade, and things don’t seem to be improving too soon.

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