Musician Pavlos Fyssas is dying in the arms of his girlfriend – just minutes after the deadly stabbing by Giorgos Poupakias on Septermber 17th in Keratsini. Somebody takes a picture -and sells it to the media. Sunday newspaper Proto Thema publishes this picture on its front page.
As soon as the information leaks to the press and the Greek internet on Saturday afternoon, a public outrage emerges with shocked citizens demanding the boycott of the newspaper.
The family of Pavlos Fyssas sends a letter to the newspaper, the Greek Journalists Union and the prosecutor of Supreme Court and demands that Proto Thema takes down the photo.
The family of Pavlos Fyssas describes the publication of these photographs “as a blatant and vulgar insult to the memory of the deceased.
As a family we demand that all show respect to our very heavy mourning and let us finally to experience in dignity and silence the loss of Pavlos.”
However the newspaper neglected the Fyssas family wish and instead it tried to defend itself by showing graphic pictures from other newspapers of the past. Like the corpse of murdered politician Grigoris Lambrakis, killed Alexandros Panagoulis, or pictures from international media showing dead children in Syria or document pictures from the Vietnam war.
What Proto Thema pretends not to understand is that all the public pictures it compares with its today’s front page served to document and informed the public that “Lambrakis was hit on the head” for example, that Panagoulis was indeed dead, that the Assad regime gassed innocent children and that the US Army was indeed chasing with deadly weapons children and elderly.
Greece’s Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) condemned Proto Thema’s front page and urged members of the press not to be intimidated by threats
“This publication does not serves the needs of information, but instead it grossly offends the rules of professional ethics and human values .
We recall , once again, that the respect of one’s personality , tact and sensitivity and respect for both the deceased and the bereaved relatives and friends is a primary obligation of the journalist (Article 2 ethical principles of journalism ).” (full ESIEA statement here)
Journalists criticized the publication of dying Fyssas saying that the picture adds no new information on the case as not only Fyssas died a couple of minutes later but also that his murderer, Giorgos Roupakias, member of extreme-right Golden Dawn has confessed the crime.
“It serves only the sensationalism, the media cannibalism and necrophilia,” a former associate of PrTh’s publisher criticized.
Many Greeks also recalled that the Sunday newspaper published ‘life-style’ portraits of Golden Dawn lawmakers present them as the ‘cute boys next door’.
Even though Proto Thema accompanied the picture of dying Fyssas with a caption “I don’t forget fascism”, a wide spectrum of Greek internet users commented that the picture was sending also a different messages, in fact a warning like “look what can happen to you”.
UPDATE: Monday morning: it looks as hardly someone boycotted Proto increased its sales by 50,000 (170,000 in total). As the newspaper gives also coupons for big supermarket, it had rose its offer from 5euro to 6 euro.
Whether Greeks bought the newspaper for the picture or the coupons we will never find out.
PS you don’t seriously expect me to upload the picture, do you?