Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2014, 14:56 GMT

Freedom of the Press - Greece (2007)

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 2 May 2007
Cite as Freedom House, Freedom of the Press - Greece (2007), 2 May 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/478cd51d28.html [accessed 23 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status: Free
Legal Environment: 8 (of 30)
Political Environment: 12 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 5 (of 30)
Total Score: 25 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

The media environment remained relatively free, although the details of the law leave holes in the protection of free speech. While the constitution purports to protect freedom of speech, there are some restrictions, including limits to speech that incites fear, violence, and disharmony among the population, as well as publications that offend religious beliefs, are obscene, or advocate the violent overthrow of the political system. Under a new Press Law, media companies are required to have registered shares held by individuals. The law, which also limits foreign ownership of Greek media, has been cited by the European Union for possible incompatibility with the provisions of the European Community Treaty dealing with the free movement of capital and freedom of establishment. Defamation remains a criminal offense under Greek law, but defendants have typically been released on bail and have not served time in jail. However, a number of journalists faced defamation charges throughout the year, including a journalist and cameraman with the private television channel Super B who were both sentenced to eight months in prison and a US$37,000 fine for interviewing an Albanian immigrant who was facing trial for drunk driving in a stolen vehicle. Unlike in previous years, there were no physical attacks on journalists during 2006.

There are many independent newspapers and magazines, including those that are critical of the government, and many broadcasters are privately owned. Greek law places limits on ownership of broadcast frequencies. The media, both public and private, are largely free from government restrictions, but state-owned stations tend to report along the official line. However, politically sensitive issues – such as the status of Macedonians and other ethnic minorities in the country – still provoke government pressure and lead to self-censorship. Broadcasting is largely unregulated, and many broadcast stations are not licensed. In June 2006, journalists working for the Greek public broadcasting service went on strike, demanding job security for colleagues working with short-term contracts. Internet access is not restricted by the government, but the proportion of the population that used this medium in 2006 (33 percent) was one of the lowest in Western Europe. In February 2006, an internet artist who had created a satirical website about corruption in civil service hiring was arrested for internet fraud.

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