Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the fact that, although clearly identified, many journalists were attacked by police officers while covering yesterday’s anti-austerity protests and strikes in Athens. “From one demonstration to the next, police violence against journalists seems to be becoming an inescapable part of the Greek crisis,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Yesterday’s incidents unfortunately show that nothing has improved since we issued an alarm. Will there have to be fatalities before the authorities end the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these violent and often deliberate attacks?”
An AFP photographer who did not want to be named had a tooth broken by a police riot shield that was deliberately rammed into her face. Greek photographer Tatiana Bolari told the local TV station Mega that she was punched in the face and insulted. Pascualino Serinelli, a freelance photographer working for Italian and Spanish media, received baton blows to his legs. Tear-gas was also fired at him at close range and his camera was snatched.
Jérôme Wesselver, a cameraman working for the Capa agency, had his camera damaged by riot shields. Several other reporters and photographers also reported being hit deliberately by police batons and riot shield.
A court is due tomorrow to begin hearing the lawsuit that the photographer Manolis Kypraios has brought against the state because he has completely lost his hearing as a result of the blast of a stun grenade that a police officer threw at him in an alley on 15 August although he identified himself and showed his press card.
Now permanently handicapped, Kypraios cannot work and has no income. Reporters Without Borders hopes the lawsuit will encourage the authorities to appreciate the scale of the violence against journalists and take determined action to end the impunity for those responsible.
Reporters Without Borders issued a report about the deterioration in media freedom in Greece on 14 September.
(Pictures: Pascualino Serinelli)