VIENNA, 21 January 2019 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, condemned the attacks yesterday on reporters and photojournalists by extremist groups in Athens.
On Sunday, Thomas Iacobi, a correspondent of various international media, was attacked while covering a protest against the name change deal with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The attack took place after a group of people from an organized extremist group recognized him as one of the co-authors of Golden Dawn: a Personal Case, a documentary about the Golden Dawn far-right political party. The group hit him in the face and forced him to delete files from his mobile and destroyed his audio equipment, before the police could intervene.
Other photographers and camera operators were also targeted, and their equipment smashed or stolen by protesters. Photojournalist Kostis Ntantamis suffered serious head injuries and had his equipment stolen.
“I strongly condemn these terrible attacks, and urge the Greek authorities to swiftly investigate them,” said Désir, “Journalists must be able to work freely and to cover protests and events of public interest without fear.”
The Representative recalled that the OSCE Ministerial Council Decision on Safety of Journalists, adopted last December, calls on participating States to condemn publicly and unequivocally all attacks and violence against journalists.
“I call on the Greek authorities to do their utmost to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice as to dissuade future violence, and to ensure that journalists can work safely,” stated Désir, adding that he will continue to monitor the situation.