Greece Falls to 84th in Press Freedom

WebAs the government tries to stifle criticism, and with much of the media aligned with political parties and downplaying scandals,  the NGO Journalists without Frontiers’ Freedom of Press Index shows Greece has fallen to 84th in the world, and had the sharpest fall among European countries and even behind some African dictatorships.

Greece was ranked 70th last year, before the government swiftly prosecuted journalist Costas Vaxevanis for publishing the names of Greeks with secret Swiss bank accounts that hadn’t been checked for tax evasion. He was easily acquitted but the government, unsatisfied with the verdict, is going to prosecute him again and yet hasn’t brought a single major tax evader to trial.

The report uses criteria such as pluralism, violence against journalists and conflict of interest. The report indicates that Media and journalists in democracies work better and enjoy much larger freedom. Nevertheless, the situation in the E.U. shows that certain countries have restricted their access to information since last year.

Yiannis Pretederis, chief editor of the TV station MEGA accidentally revealed in a recent interview that the news and the comments he and the other commentators made were dictated by someone else. Another Greek leading journalist, Paschos Mandravelis, a fierce supporter of the bail-out and the austerity reforms, was revealed to have been married to the personal assistance of former Minister of Finance, George Papaconstantinou, who is being prosecuted after it was found the names of three of his relatives were removed from a list of Greeks with secret Swiss bank accounts that hadn’t been checked for tax evasion.

Greek media often do not reveal their conflicts of interest with their business interests being hidden, but are being exposed more and more by independent journalists using their own blogs and web sites to reveal them. Without real press freedom, citizens are turning themselves into journalists. Their videos have shown, for example, alleged police brutality against 15 anti-fascists the Greek media didn’t report on.


  • Alex

    “Kostas Vaxevanis for publishing the names of Greeks with secret Swiss bank accounts that hadn’t been checked for tax evasion”

    As he rightfully he should have been. Publishing personal banking information is a crime in virtually every nation in the world. (which is different than writing articles condemning tax evasion or encouraging government to investigate the list)

    Also missing from this article, one of the primary reasons that Greece dropped in media freedom rankings is violence and intimidation by mostly leftist extremist groups. Funny how leftest Spyros Kouvoussis neglects to mention that.

  • Alex

    This article is one big load of manipulative far leftist crap. Manipulative anti-government far leftist Spyros Kouvoussis tries to portray the dropping in media freedom ranking on government hands when the primary reasons cited by foreign organziations was actually violence and intimidation of journalists by terrorists… most of whom were LEFTISTS.

    This article reads like the propaganda of communist Pot Pot and Tito. More of the same “the poor people” versus “the elites”. Its precisely this sort of slanderous far leftist “reporting” that ferments civil war like conditions. Mr. Kouvoussis is highly irresponsible.

  • S Kouvoussis

    Dear Alex,

    please read the report carefully. You can easily found it in the NGO’s site. In the topic related to freedom of express in democracies, especially in the EU, the report talks mainly about conflict of interest. This is what I show when I reffer to specific examples of conflict of interest. I suppose you will agree that there is a severe conflict of interest when you own a construction company which keeps getting government contracts and at the same time you own a Media. The previous ND government tried to stop it but they had to take it back due to heave criticism from the Media. In the case of Greece the report talks in general about intimidation of journalists, that it true. It does not talk precisely about the origin of the intimidator though and I can definitely remember cases of non-left politicians literally threatening journalists on air. Of course I agree that intimidation of journalists is always bad no matter who is the victim or the intimidator. In the case of Vaxevanis, he did not published personal information on anyone. He only published the names of the account owners, not a single personal information. Banks send envelops to their clients with their trademark on, you would not accuse them of breaking the law, would you?

    Sincerely yours,

  • Alex

     Actually you need to read carefully. Virtually all the foreign based media rantings mention of intimidation by private citizens (most of whom are either violent far leftist extremists or anarchists).

    http://en.rsf.org/greece-journalists-targeted-by-home-made-11-01-2013,43907.html

    Why did you leave that out comrade and instead manipulate the facts to go on an anti-government rant?

  • Alex

     There is also a conflict on interest when one claims to be an objective “reporter” …then abuses their podium to push their leftist ideology.

    Rather than show an ounce of objectivity you manipulatively went on a single sided witch hunt against the right. This is especially ironic given the vast majority of violence and intimidation in Greece is by far leftist groups.

  • Alex

    “I can definitely remember cases of non-left politicians literally threatening journalists on air.”

    Unfortunately leftists like you seem to have constant problems remembering much less noticing instances of Leftists threatening journalists.

    You also seem to be having problems noticing that some of these alleged “human rights” NGOs… are having serious problem noticing the Skopians sudden identity change into “descendents of ancient Macedonians”, blatently obvious irredentism and racism towards Greeks.

    Some Greek leftists seem to think because some organization puts “human rights” in their sentences in puts them above being racist towards others. Wake up Spiro. Some of these people are colluding with the Skopians in trying to ethnically erase the Greek people to cover up their shame for calling them “Macedonians”.

  • Alex

    “In the case of Vaxevanis, he did not published personal information on
    anyone. He only published the names of the account owners,”

    Which is ILLEGAL in virtually every country in the world. In the UK or US if he did the same thing, he would be criminally charged. I find it shocking you endorse criminal behavior.

  • Alex

    Perhaps if the alleged “journalists” that did these sorts rankings were interested in actually reporting facts about FYROM issue…. rather than trying to cover up their shame for calling them “Macedonians”…. I might take them more seriously.

    “This (US)
    Government considers talk of Macedonian “nation”, Macedonian
    “Fatherland”, or Macedonia “national consciousness” to be
    unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality, and sees
    in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against
    Greece” – US State Department Dec, 1944 (Foreign Relations Vol. VIII
    Washington D.C. Circular Airgram – 868.014/26)

  • Alex

    To give an example of the racism directed at greeks these days…

    “”Reports without borders” a more well known organization than the one mentioned above is based in France. If France, who were the very ones that produced the Legarde list, the media did NOT publish the names of Swiss bank account holders (as it is a criminal offense to do so…. because doing so ends up with individuals being tried by the kangaroo court of public opinion)

    Instead they bizarrely protested when Vaxevanis was arrested for doing something that is illegal in their own country. Reporters without borders also references the Skopians as “Macedonians” and pretends not to notice their sudden identity change and irredentism. They also pretend not to know that western powers (including France) fully backed Greece on this macedonia name issue during cold war.

    Then have the audacity to incredibly hypocritically rank freedom of expression higher in their own country? Disgusting Greek hating bigots.
    http://en.rsf.org/macedonia.html

  • worldarts

    There is absolutely NO HOPE for Alex & his hate … he is stuck in a rut and totally in denial of his friends at PASOK and New Democray’s CRIMES in Greece for 37 years…
    Ony my god, Alex, “the Commies & Lefties” are coming to take you away, ho, ho, ho hum!   

  • worldarts

    WE ALREADY KNOW THE PRESS IS “IN BED” WITH THE CRIMINAL GANGS RUNNING PASOK & ND HERE IN GREECE…. When is this crap going to stop? All we have is fools like Mr. Alex (the pea-brain) below ranting on an on about how “Press Freedom” is bad for Greece and all is wonderful with criminal political ties to corrupt reporters !

  • John G.

    Press freedom is important. Of course it is not right what the journalist did to publish the names of bankholders, which should remain privately.
    On the other hand, these are not normal circumstances. For most Europeans the whole campaign of “Grexit” is around the unwillingness of the government to collect taxes. France was also pushing openess of the list. They noticed too that the aim of many people in charge was to put the list out of sight. Why else, did France ‘forced’ the government, by providing the data again, a few weeks after the parliament want not to accept the data as valid?

    Now this is in the open. I as a Dutch citizen, publishing the names, had broken the system of the tax cheaters, they can not hide any more behind their frends or polical relations. The only hope is that the EU will let them go. But push the government into action. Collecting the 70 billion of outstanding tax. Also force them to end the pile of outstanding cases at court (approx 1 million), which is also the reason of not tax paying and obeying laws.
    Revealing the names also prohibbited that citizens are taking their own hand to correct.
    I think the journalist did something great for Greece.

  • Alex

     A communist calling others “fools”. That’s funny.

    If your day job as supporter of far left wing terrorism doesn’t pan out you can always try your hand as a comedian

  • Alex

     You are the one full of hate commie scum. How many times have you cheered on far leftist violence and riots on this forum. Disgusting criminal.

  • Alex

    Communism failed comrade. It proved over and over it is an oppressive system that GENERATES POVERTY. You are mentally ill supporting mass murdering thugs like Mao.

  • Alex

    “France was also pushing openess of the list.”

    ?? France did not publish the names. Nor did the UK. Not did any of the reporters of any of countries that “praised” Vaxevanis. Rather hypocritical no? What’s the delay?

    “On the other hand, these are not normal circumstances. For most
    Europeans the whole campaign of “Grexit” is around the unwillingness of
    the government to collect taxes”

    Frankly it has far far more to do more with racism towards Greeks.

    All I hear in some foreign media is Greeks in negative light (unless its a Greek that rants against Greece). Greece population 11 million with 2% of the EU economy is constantly portrayed as if it single handledly responsible for global credit crisis. Those that rant “Fascism” and “racism” when greeks finally get fed up with illegals violating our borders and wish to deport them… seem to not be so quick to rant the same against their own countries that deport illegals (despite having far fewer per capita).  Also see name dispute where those that smugly called the former Yugoslavians “Macedonians” now
    dishonestly pretend not to notice their sudden identity quick change into
    “ancient Macedonians” and irredentism against Greece. Apparently colluding with extremists that wish to exterminate the Greek people is “human rights” now.

    “Collecting the 70 billion of outstanding tax.”

    Source for this number?

    I would also point out Greece’s debt is 450 Billion. Even using your highly exaggerated number for outstanding uncollected taxes, Greece would still have a massive debt. (note: for this I blame my country. We spent ourselves into the ground listening to leftist extremists constantly demanding handouts rather than focusing on productivity)

  • Alex

    A recent MURDER of journalist by far leftist extremist (who also murdered a police officer)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Sokratis_Giolias

     Had this been done by someone on the right we would never have heard the end of it. Unfortunately leftists don’t seem to have yearly vigils for those murdered by leftist extremists (also see Greek civil war where over 100K Greeks died for the sake of ranting communist tyrants yet not a peep of condemnation or remembrance at those atrocities by communists like Syriza)

  • worldarts

    Talk about PRESS FREEDOM in Greece! — Kathimerini just BLOCKED all my Comments on their website because I started to question who “AnnieAthens” who was also commenting on their site because I was asking in my last comment to her: “How is it that “Annie” seems to know so much about Greek Politics when she said she’s only lived here 4 years! I asked in my comment is “AnnieAthens” married to someone at Kathimerini or is she working for their paper, and I think it upset the Editors because I must have hit on something they obviously didn’t want “exposed” or revealed and said to the Public…

    Can you believe in this modern day and age Kathimerini is “using their own inside people” who are “shills” (fake commentors) to spin the comments section, just the way they want them, to guide the rest of the commentors in a right-wing direction? Well, this is what is going on apparently, and if you don’t agree with Kathimerini’s propaganda they put forward, they will simply CENSOR your comments altogether!

    It is INCREDIBLE their blatant manipulation of the Press and Media, just to serve their friends at PASOK & ND!

  • Alex

    You come on this website (I have seen your handle on other websites as well) and throw around slanderous accusations then you have the audacity to lecture about “propaganda”?

    Are you even Greek “world arts”? You sound like one of the Skopians that pretends to be a Greek communist online in the hopes of causing a civil war in Greece.

  • S Kouvoussis

    Dear Alex,

    thank you for you reply. I really fail to see how the Macedonian issue is relevant to a discussion concerning media and freedom of speech. Publishing just the names of account owners is not illegal as I pointed out in my previous reply. Banks send envelops with their trademark, name and the name of the account owner all the time. This is not against the law, at least in Greece. Other countries did not publish the names of the original list, the so called Falciani List, because their governments did what they had to do, something which did not happen in the case of Greece. Murders of Gollias have yet to be found. On the other hand, the people who beat Marios Lolos and Manolis Kypraios were police officers, not “far-left terrorists” as you may call them. The last thing we need though is a “tit-for-tat” mentality. With these remarks, I would like to thank you for our conversation. Have a nice day.

    Sincerely yours,

  • Katerina

    Anyone who watches Greek news on tv is aware of the blatant propaganda. Newspapers still keep up a certain standard of objective reporting. I have stopped watching Greek tv news a long time ago..