Reporters Without Borders today expressed its dismay after the murder yesterday of journalist and head of Radio Thema 98.9, Socratis Guiolias. He was gunned down in the early hours of the morning outside his home in the southeast of Athens.
Guiolias, 37, also contributed regularly to a news blog Troktiko.gr Initial police reports said that his attackers used a pretext to get the journalist to leave his house and then shot him with an automatic weapon at point blank range before fleeing.
Police said that ballistic tests on the 20 or so cartridges recovered from the crime scene linked the killing to a group of left-wing extremists that surfaced in 2009 under the name Sehta Epanastaton (Revolutionaries’ sect). This tiny group of militants claimed responsibility for machine-gunning the privately owned Alter TV without causing any casualties and threatened in its statement of responsibility to kill all the journalists.
“We are shocked by the brutality of this murder,” the worldwide press freedom organization said. “As of now there is nothing to clearly establish that the murder of Socratis Guiolias was linked to his journalistic work. We hope that the investigation will quickly allow the exact motives for this barbaric act to be established. Nevertheless this murder only increases the pressure on journalists and the general disquiet that is affecting most media offices.
“The already very tense situation of 2009 is worsening. The press is regularly attacked by a group of activists of various tendencies who think that they can get themselves a “media outlet” by regularly issuing threats against the media. It is disturbing that that such a situation should be unfolding in a country that is a member of the European Union. We urge the Greek authorities to ensure the safety of journalists, including in public demonstrations where they are too often targeted,” Reporters Without Borders said.