The scene of Giorgos Karaivaz’s murder (picture alliance / ANE / Eurokinissi | Giannis Panagopoulos)
Three years later: Still no justice for murdered Greek journalist Giorgos Karaivaz

ECPMF

09 April 2024

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Three years have elapsed since the assassination of Giorgos Karaivaz, a veteran Greek crime reporter. Today, the undersigned members of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) commemorate his death and renew demands on the Greek authorities to redouble their efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

 

Giorgos Karaivaz was one of Greece’s most prominent investigative journalists specializing in organized crime and police reporting when he was gunned down in broad daylight outside his Athens home on April 9, 2021. The execution was conducted by professional hitmen who escaped on a motorbike and therefore almost certainly worked for organized crime.

 

Despite the arrest of two suspects in April 2023, shortly before the national elections, there has been no discernible progress in the investigation. Given that Karaivaz also reported on corruption between the police and organized crime, the risk that some parties within the police may be interested in obstructing the investigation cannot be ruled out. For this reason, the lack of transparency over the investigation is particularly troubling.

 

Despite repeated calls for greater transparency in accordance with European standards, Greek authorities have failed to disclose the progress of investigations. As the sole EU member with two open cases of impunity for the killings of journalists, Greece’s lack of progress in prosecuting perpetrators underscores the urgency for expedited investigations and the implementation of measures recommended by the European Commission for the Safety of Journalists.

 

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners are concerned that the failure to identify and prosecute the responsible parties is having a profound chilling effect on the journalistic community, in addition to being a profound injustice and undermining the rule of law in Greece. We therefore urge the Greek authorities to increase efforts to identify and prosecute all those responsible for this heinous crime.  

 

We reiterate our recommendations made following the MFRR 2023 mission to Greece outlined in the report ‘Stemming the tide of Greek Media Freedom Decline’. These included:

  • The public prosecutor should dedicate additional resources and seek assistance from international bodies such as Europol in Karaivaz’s investigation
  • The government should commit to promoting effective and independent investigations of crimes against journalists
  • The prosecutor of the Supreme Court should commission an independent evaluation of all unresolved cases of attacks against journalists

The report also noted the ongoing failure to prosecute those behind the 2010 murder of journalist Sokratis Giolias, further adding to the climate of impunity. 

 

The government’s failure to secure justice should also be seen in the broader context of an ongoing erosion of press freedom and the rule of law in Greece, which, as highlighted by a recent European Parliament resolution, includes the misuse of spyware against journalists, challenges to media pluralism and intimidation of journalists.

 

While we note the establishment of the Task Force on Ensuring Protection of Journalists in July 2022, we are yet to see any tangible results for journalists. The Greek government must take decisive action to address these alarming concerns by safeguarding journalists from threats and attacks and ensuring accountability for past injustices. 

 

Signed:

International Press Institute (IPI)

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

OBC Transeuropa (OBCT)

Free Press Unlimited (FPU)

ARTICLE 19 Europe

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