Greece | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The constitution provides provisions for freedom of the press. There are, however, some legal limits restricting speech that incites fear and violence, as well as publications that offend religious beliefs or that advocate the violent overthrow of the political system. Libel of the president is a criminal offense, but defendants are generally released on bail and do not serve time in jail. Broadcasting in Greece is largely unregulated, and many broadcast stations are not licensed. In June, police arrested the owner of the private Macedonian-language radio station Makedonikos Ichos in Naoussa, northern Greece, and seized the station's transmitting equipment. Although the official explanation was that the station lacked a proper operating license, there was concern that the raid was politically motivated because the station broadcasts in the Macedonian language.

There are many independent newspapers and magazines, including those that are critical of the government, and many broadcasters are privately owned. Greek law provides for limits on ownership of media frequencies. The media, both public and private, are largely independent from government restrictions. However, politically sensitive issues still provoke government pressure and lead to some self-censorship. State-owned stations tend to report along the government line. In May, local watchdog group Greek Helsinki Monitor protested the prime minister's pressure on state television station ET-3 to cancel the showing of a documentary, allegedly because the documentary had an antinational bias in its portrayal of Turkish Cypriots. During the 2004 Olympics in Athens, there were reports of journalists being harassed and detained for allegedly violating strict security measures. In October, the sports editor of the daily Eleftherotypia was stabbed and beaten. The journalist believes that the motive for the attack was his articles on doping, hooliganism, and heavy debts of some Greek soccer clubs.