Reporters Without Borders Annual Report 2002 - Greece
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||3 May 2002|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Reporters Without Borders Annual Report 2002 - Greece, 3 May 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/487c5254c.html [accessed 12 July 2014]|
Greek newspapers are regularly imposed heavy fines under draconian laws on slander and press law violations.
The Greek press is free, but a few subjects such as criticising religion, relations with Turkey, corruption and nepotism continue to arouse the ire of the authorities. Despite Greece's commitment to Europe, the minorities question – Slav-Macedonian, Turkish or Albanian – remains genuinely taboo for journalists. Certain administration officials show no hesitation in systematically invoking laws on press law violations and slander and in suing newspapers and magazines. Although the courts no longer hand down prison terms for press law violations, legislation still provides for up to five years imprisonment for "insult" or "dishonor".
In early March 2001 the Writers' Union of Athens, the main Greek journalists' union, asked the Ministers of Justice and the Press in an open letter to repeal the law imposing heavy fines on journalists in cases of "non-pecuniary injury" inflicted on third parties. In a traditionally pettifogging country, this provision has made it possible since 1994 to sue press organs for heavy damages. Newspapers are regularly imposed fines that have been known to reach 100 million drachmas (290,000 euros), sums that threaten their very existence.