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27.11.2015

Greece: Journalists arrested, accused of taking photos in court

Michelle Trimborn

Two journalists from Italy and the USA have been arrested in the city of Polygyros and accused of taking photos of a trial inside a court room without permission, which is prohibited according to Greek law. ECPMF was informed directly about the case.

The two women, Italian film-maker Francesca Pagani and journalist Angela Anderson from the USA, were attending the court case of environmental activists who tried to stop the further development of privately-owned gold mines in the Halkidiki region. The journalists were accused by the judge and were arrested right after the trial by the local police.

 

Pagani and Anderson claim that they only filmed outside the courtroom and that they even possess a special licence allowing this. Having been in detention for more than two hours, they were released to face trial today, on 25th November. Their filming equipment is still in the hands of the local police.

 

ECPMF contacted the US embassy in Athens to find out more about the further proceedings. They confirmed the case stating that they informed Angela Anderson about local court procedures and provided her with contacts to English-speaking lawyers.

 

George Pleios, Professor for Communication and Media Studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and ECPMF Supervisory Board Member, sees the case as an indicator for the worrying state of media freedom in Greece:

In my opinion this is another one case in the series of violations of the press and media freedom in Greece, which has raised significantly since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2010. This is the reason why Greece moved from 34th place only a few years ago to 91st place out of 180 this year in the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index.

 

He also urges the authorities for a quick reaction: "I think that the EU and the Greek authorities should take all necessary measures in order to implement high media freedom standards in Greece – it should have been done long ago."

 

Oliver VujovicECPMF condemns the arrest of the journalists and calls on authorities for a fair trial. The situations for journalists in Greece has been worsening as consequence of the economic crisis, leaving media in a bad state and making many journalists unemployed. Also the ongoing existence of a defamation law, making it easy to convict journalists for their findings, is strongly criticised. ECPMF’s partner SEEMO sent a delegation to Greece in the beginning of November 2015 to urge the authorities to create better working conditions for journalists and respect press freedom laws.

 

ECPMF is in contact with its partners in Greece to observe the case of Pagani and Anderson. Updates will be posted to this website and on social media.

Protest march over gold mine plans in Halkidiki Protest march over gold mine plans in Halkidiki, Greece (Screenshot: demotix.com)

Michelle Trimborn, PR and Communications Manager ECPMF, is responsible for both internal communication with the Consortium Partners and external communication/PR.





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