Greece | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Greece

Greece

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status

Free

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

28

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

14

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

6

The constitution includes provisions for freedom of speech and of the press. There are, however, some limits on speech that incites fear, violence, or disharmony among the population, as well as on publications that offend religious beliefs, are obscene, or 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. In December, three journalists were found guilty of revilement, a lesser charge of libel, for writing an anonymous article that was critical of a well-known activist for minority languages in Greece. In April, Austrian author Gerhard Haderer was acquitted of blasphemy charges lodged against him by a Greek court for his satirical depiction of Christ in his book The Life of Jesus. In October, a radio station was ordered to shut down for its supposedly vulgar and poor-quality programs, a first in Greece and in Europe. The station decided to defy the order, arguing that the program in question is hosted by an experienced journalist who uses slang and wordplay to focus on the daily problems of ordinary life. Also in October, the defense minister filed charges against three journalists for a story they wrote about military procurements from the United States that criticized the minister for irregular political activities.

Journalists face an unsafe working environment, as many have been the target of violent attacks in recent years. In December, a television journalist and his cameraman were attacked while covering a labor protest, and since October 2004, three sports journalists have been attacked in unrelated incidents. Macedonian journalists have often reported facing restrictions while covering the news in Greece. In October, authorities refused accreditation to three journalists working for a Macedonian television station who wanted to travel to northern Greece to meet members of the Rainbow Party (a small political party that represents the Macedonian community living in northern Greece) and the Greek section of the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages. Although they were granted visas to travel, they were not given permission to conduct interviews on Greek territory.

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 media frequencies. The media, both public and private, are largely independent 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. Almost 4 million people in Greece regularly access the internet, which remains unrestricted by government interference.