The safety of the free media in Greece has been called into question as of late due to a report that was released last week by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), an association led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom.
This report showed that Greece had dropped five places in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index. The index highlighted the current danger for press freedom as the country is handing out hidden funds, evidence of censorship and violence against journalists.
Greece has now fallen to 70th rank in the index making it the 4th worst ranking in the European Union.
The MFRR report shows statistics of the decline in press freedom since the New Democracy party came into power in 2019. According to the report, the party in power is “obsessed with controlling the message,” and “minimising critical and dissenting voices.”
“News that is inconvenient or unflattering for the government, which includes reporting on serious human rights violations, does not get reported in many outlets, creating a significant obstacle for the public’s access to information and, subsequently, their informed participation in the democratic process,” the report says.
The report also shines a light on the murder of crime reporter Giorgios Karaivaz in April 2021, which revealed deeper problems such as the overall safety of journalists in Greece.
Calls to ensure that whoever is behind Karaivaz’ murder is brought to justice have been loud after the release of this report and there are also calls to ensure all attacks against journalists are properly investigated.
“The investigation progress appears slow and lacks basic transparency, which has had a chilling effect and leads to mistrust about the authorities’ ability or willingness to protect the journalistic community,” says the report.