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State NET-TV Presenters Censored for Criticizing Public Order Minister Over Guardian Torture-Report

A case of censorship in Greek state broadcaster ERT/NET. Kostas Arvanitis and Marilena Katsimi, presenters of news-magazine “Morning Information” on NET TV were removed from the magazine due to comments on Minister of Citizen Protection Nikos Dendias over the Guardian-Dendias conflict.

Nikos Dendias had threatened to sue  British newspaper The Guardian over an articled published about a group of Greek protesters being tortured by the police.

Arvanitis and Katsimi were informed about being ‘cut off’ from the news-magazine via editor in chief who was informed about this decision by the general director of ERT, just hours after the broadcast on Monday morning.

Arvanitis wrote on his blog:

 “We just learned that the General Directorate of the Information of ERT that as of  tomorrow and until further notice that presenters of “PROINIS INFORMATION” Kostas Arvanitis and Marilena Katsimi are being “cut” from the show.
The reason was the following dialogue between two presenters:

M. Katsimi. … and here came out the forensic findings for the 15 arrested published in  the Guardian and for which case Mr. Dendias wanted to  sue the Guardian
Mr. Arvanitis. Didn’t he sue?
M. Katsimi. He didn’t because the findings show that it is indeed a felony.
Mr. Arvanitis. And now, is he going to resign?
M. Katsimi. I do not think that he would resign. But it was strange what Mr. Dendias said – as if he knew the findings, which is not normally done,  that one the other hand is good that he didn’t know the findings but on the other hand, how can you say such a thing?
Mr. Arvanitis. And now what? Would he apologize?
M. Katsimi. I do not know ….
Mr. Arvanitis. Wow… that’s difficult for Mr. Dendias. And he is from the same place as you, from Corfu.
M. Katsimi. And he is a serious man and I have to say.”

The issue triggered an outrage among the Greek internet community and many users described it as a ‘junta-style censorship’.

General Director of ERT, Aimilios Liatsos issused a statement speaking of  “unacceptable insinuations” towards the Minister:

“General Directorate of  ERT fully respects the rules of the free press and it proves in daily practice the broadcast of all views. However, it can not accept the violation of the minimum standards of journalistic ethics.

The presenters of the daily magazine “Morning Information” on NET,  Mr. Kostas Arvanitis and Mrs. Marilena Katsimi, made unacceptable insinuations against the Minister of Citizen Protection Mr. Nikos Dendias, and thus without giving him the right to express his own opinion, while with their comments appeared to prejudge the outcome of the judicial decision.”

PS the message is clear: members of the press are not allowed to criticize somebody, unless the person under criticism is present to defend him/herself. *sigh*

UPDATES:

1) ERT/NET employees are threaten with strike due to Arvanitis/Katsimi censorship. Journalists, reporters & presenters are holding an extraordinary meeting in order to decide on how to react to the increasing cases of censorship.

2) Meanwhile another case of censorship in state broadcaster ERT is being reported by Journalists’ Union POESY. The union condemns that a reporter of ERT3 was removed from live-studio on October 26/2012, because he spoke of “strong police presence outside Agios Dimitrios Church” in Thessaloniki, when Prime Minister Samaras and President Papoulias were attending the festive mess.

3) Journalists at ERT/NET will launch 24-hour rolling strikes as of October 30,2012, until the decision on Arvanitis/Katsimi is withdrawn.

 4) After 10 days of NET employees on strike, Arvanitis & Kasimi returned to their post with decision of the management

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15 comments

  1. Twice within a couple of days journalism has been targeted… The muzzling of the press takes on alarming proportions. Whoever is saying that ‘the enemy’ of democracy and the Greek people comes from abroad must now be seeing clearly that the biggest enemies are the ones from within Greece itself.
    Let’s hope this is a positive development, as journalists that are firmly part of the nomenklatura might decide that their interests are not best served by that and starting to do what they are supposed to do: exposing every dirty detail and de-masking the people behind the ‘vested’ interests in this country.

  2. ….Help!!!

  3. It’s this sort of thing that has people turning to the internet for news. It is also the reason that ‘they’ want to control it.

  4. But Mr. Dendias has assured anybody that we will see the truth. He will go to the bottom of this with a sworn administrative inquiry! It’s just a pity that the UN Human Rights Committee does not agree:

    In 2008, the UN Human Rights Committee described a sworn administrative inquiry as an “internal and confidential police procedure whose safeguards aim to protect the rights of the officer under investigation, rather than those of the complainant”.

    “Thus, the inquiry guarantees the right of the ‘accused’ officer to nominate witnesses, to request the postponement of proceedings or the exclusion of the investigating officer, as well as the right of access to the evidence and the right of appeal,” the report said.

    “By contrast, there are no provisions setting out the rights of the complainant, who does not have the right of access to the hearings and cannot appeal against the findings.

    “In common with the oral administrative inquiry, the complainant only has the right to be informed of the outcome, which consists of a mere paragraph without any reference as to the type of disciplinary penalties imposed, if any. The complainant is usually not entitled to ask for copies of documents gathered in the course of the inquiry,” the UN committee said.

    And why Dendias wants to sue the Guardian? Isn’t that

    to prejudge the outcome of the judicial decision.

  5. This isn’t the most recent case, the management at ERT took issue with Elli Stai (she presents the main 9pm news on NET) and removed her from air to “investigate”. ERT is government controlled. Always has been, the presenters always used to change after an election.

  6. keeptalkinggreece

    apparently the Stai-conflict has another background