Greece: is press freedom at demonstrations under threat?
New regulations for public assemblies have triggered outrage in Greece. Journalist associations are condemning the new rules which allow the media to cover demonstrations only from a police-designated "protected zone", and force them to cooperate with a police liaison officer. The ministry in charge countered on Thursday evening that the provisions were merely optional. But the press regards this statement and the entire legislation as scandalous.
The police is the real threat
Citizens' Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis is doing his utmost to cover up police brutality, writes left-wing Avgi:
“Whenever journalists were physically threatened during protests, it was always by the police. And not a single police officer has ever faced charges. So let's not play stupid here. What Citizens' Protection Minister Chrysochoidis wants is to avoid there being any evidence of systematic, unrestrained police action against the citizens. ... Let's be clear about one thing: this decision violates press freedom and people's constitutional right to freedom of information. And it is aimed at protecting and covering up police despotism. This will not happen.”
It couldn't get more anti-liberal
The conservative daily Naftemporiki is also incensed:
“This scandalous regulation is based on the notion that the role of the press is to report on the actions and behaviour of the people but not the authorities themselves. And journalists are not to act on what they see with their own eyes, but 'in collaboration and mutual understanding' with the Greek police - as the bill puts it. ... What could be less liberal than a regulation that imposes the same 'point of view' on all journalists and permits them to use only one source, namely the police? And what is more dangerous for a democracy than to tell the police that their activities will remain invisible to the public?”