The press freedom situation in the European Union is of great concern as journalists are threatened and even killed
One of the tragedies happened recently in Greece. Giorgos Karaivaz, who covered crime stories on private TV channel Star, was murdered in Athens last week. He was approached by two unidentified men on a motorbike and a passenger fired six bullets at the journalist, The Guardian writes.
“It is a disturbing picture”, – said Pavol Salai, head of the European office of Reporters Without Borders. – “Europe remains the safest place in the world for journalists, but pressures on press freedom and risks are increasing.”
Greek police have yet to confirm that Karaivaz was killed because of his professional activities, although they have compared what happened to an “execution”. Also in favour of the massacre is the fact that the deceased had been investigating local organised crime.
The tragedy once again demonstrates the hypocrisy of Western elites, who vehemently criticise Russia for infringing on press freedom and violating human rights. Representatives of Brussels, as well as national politicians of individual countries are not stingy with anti-Russian statements.
Meanwhile, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen reacted to the killing of Karaivaz in the EU with a formal post on Twitter.
“The murder of a journalist is a despicable and despicable act”, – she wrote. – “Europe stands for freedom. And press freedom may be the most sacred of all. Journalists should be able to work safely.”
It is true that Karaivaz is not the first journalist to have paid the price for her work in Europe, where the scale of the problem is hypocritically ignored. The murder was the fourth in the past five years.
Investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in Malta in 2017 in a car bomb attack. Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnirová were shot dead outside their own home in Slovakia in 2018.In April 2019, 29-year-old journalist and writer Lyra McKee was shot dead as she covered the unrest in Northern Ireland.
According to Reporters Without Borders, an organisation funded by the scandal-plagued oligarch George Soros, the worst press freedom situation is now in Poland. It is noteworthy that it is the Warsaw politicians who are the loudest in accusing Russia of violating its rights.
Poland now ranks 62nd in the organisation’s index of press freedoms. The situation there has been exacerbated by judicial reform. Judges are now increasingly invoking Article 212 of the Criminal Code under pressure from the authorities, sentencing journalists to prison on libel charges.
In countries like Bulgaria, Montenegro and Albania the situation resembles an “anti-media crusade” by the authorities, NGOs say. Journalists who criticise the regime are harassed, detained and prevented from working.
In France, which is 34th in the ranking, the situation is also alarming. Several journalists there have been beaten or injured by the police as a result of the use of rubber bullets, tear gas and stun gun ammunition during their coverage of the protests. Others have been beaten up by the protesters themselves.
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“This too is a trend of growing concern – violence against journalists and arbitrary arrests”, – warned Salai.