Greece: hooded assailants attack journalists' union and media workers

This article was first published by EFJ

Greek journalists’ union ESIEMTH and two municipal media offices attacked by intruders in Thessaloniki.

Esiemth offive after the atack ESIEMTH office in Thessaloniki after the attack (photo: ESIEMTH)

The ECPMF joins the European and International Federation of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) in condemning the attacks that took place in Thessaloniki, Greece on the 20th and 21st of December 2017, against the Journalists' Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers (ESIEMTH) as well as two municipal media.

Thursday at noon, the ESIEMTH headquarters were attacked by around ten hooded assailants. Staff were threatened and asked not to move as the intruders said that "an intervention [was] about to take place". The perpetrators destroyed two PCs, a TV set, a printer and other material such as chairs, before leaving the office. ESIEMTH told EFJ that the police has launched an investigation.

On Wednesday, what appears to be the same group of people attacked the premises of the municipal media in Thessaloniki, the TV station TV100 and the radio station FM100. The group in hoods tried to enter the building of the two local media. They did not manage to get inside, but broke windows and damaged vehicles owned by media workers which were parked outside. One worker was hit with a crowbar and was sent to hospital for a light injury. The about twenty assailants also threw paint, and leaflets with slogans against journalists reading: "A broken TV station for every evening news bulletin" and "Journalists, you ruffians". Similar leaflets were found in the ESIEMTH offices.

The ECPMF, EFJ and the IFJ stand in solidarity with ESIEMTH in Thessaloniki as well as with TV100 and FM100 workers. The organisations will alert the Council of Europe platform for the safety of journalists.

“We are all shocked to hear about this awful unprecedented attack against our affiliate in Thessaloniki, the ESIEMTH, something that has never happened to any of our unions throughout Europe, said EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregard. Attacking journalists’ organisations is like attacking all journalists.”

IFJ President Philippe Leruth said: “This attack is threatening free trade unions and freedom of opinion which are fundamental values of democracy. By attacking our friends at ESIEMTH and other media in Thessaloniki, the attackers hoped to silence them. They should know that they won’t succeed. The IFJ expresses its strongest solidarity with its Greek colleagues and demand judicial authorities on the ground to investigate the case and severely  punish the perpetrators of these attacks.

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