Six months after the murder of Greek investigative reporter, Giorgos Karaivaz, the group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is asking the Greek government to speed up the investigation.
The prominent Greek journalist was brutally murdered on the morning of April 9, 2021 by two unknown individuals in the southern suburb of Alimos in Athens. His murder shocked not just Greece, but Europe and the world as well.
He was shot at least six times with a silenced weapon by two men on a moped outside his home. Karaivaz, who worked for private broadcaster Star TV and news blog bloko.gr, was fired upon as he got out of his car after work.
The journalist was known for his extensive exposes on the Greek police and crime.
Karaivaz has not been the the only journalist to have been murdered in Greece. On July 19, 2010, another prominent Greek journalist, Socrates Giolias, died after he was shot by –again — unknown perpetrators outside his house, in front of his pregnant wife.
Karaivaz murder threatens journalists’ security
RSF called on the Greek authorities to keep their promise to prioritize the case and to make every possible effort to solve it quickly, for the sake of the security of all Greek journalists.
The government insisted last Thursday that the investigation into Karaivaz’s murder was an “absolute priority” for the Greek police. But the police have yet to identify a single suspected perpetrator or instigator, although the killing was carried out in broad daylight.
According to reports broadcast last month by Star TV channel, for which Karaivaz worked, the investigation could continue for “many months.” The authorities have to analyze two lists of suspects, 30 statements and 150 videos.
Shortly after the murder, PM Kyriákos Mitsotákis called on the police to solve the case quickly. The Minister for Citizen Protection at the time, Michális Chrysochoidis, promised that “the investigation (will be) accelerated until it achieves its goal.”
Police silent on investigation progress
However, since then, the police and the Ministry of Citizen Protection have provided little official information about progress in the case. In July, the police acquired evidence from security camera footage about potential perpetrators and instigators.
Still, they did not reveal their identity or say if any of the persons concerned were under investigation. The ANT1 TV channel reports that the authorities have now gathered more than 100 videos, statements, phone records and other pieces of information.
RSF expressed its concerns in a letter to the Greek Interior Minister in early August, but it has yet to receive a reply, despite several follow-up messages. The Karaivaz family’s lawyer has voiced doubts about the efficacy of the investigation and the authorities’ desire to unmask those behind the journalist’s murder.
The case has confirmed the inadequacies of the measures taken by the Greek authorities to protect media personnel. Although journalists are threatened by organized crime, their relations with the authorities are marked by deep mistrust.
When a plan to murder investigative reporter Kostas Vaxevanis was revealed in late April, RSF urged the Greek authorities to adopt measures to restore trust between the media and the police.
But the government gave priority at that time to proposed legislation that would expand the definition of fake news. That proposed bill, criticized by the Greek Publishers Association, plans to extend the meaning of the offense of spreading fake news.
It defines “fake news” extraordinarily broadly, as any information likely to raise public concern or undermine public confidence, especially in public health.