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Greece Has "Partly Free" Press

Greek newspapersGreece’s partisan media and government attempts to muzzle dissidents has led to the country falling five places in the annual Freedom House press index, now ranking 92nd in the world among 197 surveyed.
The US-based non-governmental organization rated the media in Greece as being “partly free” and put Greece below Mozambique and just above Lesotho in terms of the freedom of reporting. Greece is also behind Brazil, the Phillippines, Burkina Faso, Peru, Romania, Botswana, El Salvador, Mali, South Africa, and Poland. Cyprus came in 42nd.
Leading the list as having the most press freedom were Scandinavian countries again, led by The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, followed by Belgium, Finland, Luxembourg, Iceland, Denmark, Andorra and Lichtenstein. The United States, where the Obama Administration has been spying on reporters, fell from 23d to 30th.
The decline was driven in part by major regression in several Middle Eastern states, including Egypt, Libya, and Jordan; marked setbacks in Turkey, Ukraine, and a number of countries in East Africa; and deterioration in the relatively open media environment of the United States, it said.
The group noted that world press freedom was at its lowest in a decade, especially with killings of journalists in war zones and in countries where reporters are targets of governments and critics. Only one in seven people now lives in a country with a free press.
Freedom House said that the decline in the Greek rating was in a “large part” due to the sudden closure of public broadcaster ERT in an “opaque manner” in June 2013.
“In addition, the year featured an increase in the number of libel cases and the use of surveillance against journalists, as well as the non-transparent awarding of telecommunications licenses,” added the NGO.
The government also re-tried investigative journalist Costas Vaxevanis,who had already been acquitted once on charges of invasion of privacy after he revealed the names of 2,062 Greeks with secret Swiss bank accounts, but failed as he was cleared again.
Greece has lost 17 points in the press freedom rankings since 2009, which is the biggest decline of all countries. The country is also notorious for having media aligned with political parties and with journalists have side working deals with politicians and business executives. Much of the country’s media is owned by big business interests pushing their agendas and devoting favorable coverage to the government in return for lucrative ads and contracts.

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