Status: Free
Legal Environment: 9 (of 30)
Political Environment: 13 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 5 (of 30)
Total Score: 27 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

The constitution includes provisions for freedom of speech and the press. There are, however, some limits on speech that incites fear, violence, and disharmony among the population, as well as publications that offend religious beliefs, that are obscene, or that advocate the violent overthrow of the political system. Two cases were brought to court for expressing allegedly anti-Semitic or racist ideas: a suit filed by Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) against the extreme-rightwing newspaper Eleftheros Kosmos for having publicly expressed ideas offensive to Roma because of their ethnic origin, as well as another case brought by GHM and the Central Board of Jewish Communities against the same newspaper and former Popular Orthodox Rally party (LAOS) candidate and author Kostas Plevris for racism and anti-Semitism. In December the court convicted Plevris and sentenced him to a 14-month suspended sentence for inciting hatred and racial violence in his book; meanwhile, the newspaper was acquitted.

A proposed media law currently being discussed in parliament has been criticized for deliberately trying to hinder the development of media in the region and for trying to limit minority group access to media. The proposed law states that the main transmission language of radio stations must be Greek. It also demands that radio stations keep a certain amount of money in reserve as a guarantee and hire a certain number of full-time staff, both factors that would disproportionately hurt smaller, minority owned stations or community radio. In July, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the case of Lionarakis v. Greece that a Greek law that holds journalists responsible for the declarations and opinions of people taking part in controversial programs was a breach of the freedom of expression. In the original case a Greek court ruled that the journalist/coordinator of a radio program was liable for statements made by a guest speaker who criticized certain public personalities during the program. The leader of a journalist union, Dimitris Trimis, was sent to jail in March for his union activities during a 2004 strike.

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. 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.

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