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Anti-Government Websites in Danger of Closing Down

imagesIn a move seen only in regimes like Syria, Iran and North Korea, the Greek government tried to close down Indymedia Athens, an anti-governmental website on April 11. The site operates with a team of volunteers who share expenses and have the responsibility for running it.
Indymedias were created in the aftermath of the anti-globalization movement, after mass demonstration in Seattle. Indymedias around the world have a simple logic; they created what is called “citizens journalism”. Users are free to post their own subjects and the site encourages people to write what happens in real time. This means that you can read whatever happens in every neighborhood, in every protest, in every political issue in real time.
Its progressive agenda and immediacy have made it one of the most popular websites in Greece where most people can either be informed for what is happening everywhere or can write about traditional things. Medias are not reporting. There was also a special section with events and another where users could upload books, brochures and articles. Traditional Medias tended to check for reporting information as it is impossible even for the biggest media to have reporters in every city and every village in Greece.
Its agenda though and the fact that many revelations were made (such as the real video showing the murder of the 16 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, in 2008) made it really hated among the far-right. In his previous public speech, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, said that he will “close down terrorist sites”. For the PM, “terrorist sites” are anti-governmental sites. A few months ago, Minister of Public Order Nikos Dendias, a former member of the neon-nazi party ENEK, wanted to sue The Guardian for revealing that 15 anti-fascists have been tortured by the police.
Freedom of speech though is difficult to be cut with the widespread use of the Internet. Athens Indymedia is accessible by another web link. The move though to close a website just because it’s against the government without a warrant, an accusation or by following legal procedures shows that the economy is not only the part of the country affected by the crisis; the quality of democracy and freedom of speech are also under threat. Closing down sites without following any legal procedure is a move seen only in regimes like North Korea, Iran and Syria. Critics of the government, both domestic and international, criticize the government for undemocratic procedures. Today, the government has proved them right.

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