New report reveals Greek authorities repeatedly fail to investigate murdered journalists

Press release
Sokratis Guilias

Together with press freedom organisations Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, we published a new report revealing that Greek authorities displayed a pattern of inaction and inadequate investigation during the investigation into the murder of Greek journalist Sokratis Giolias in 2010. This report once again highlights the deterioration of media freedom in Greece.

Giolias, a former radio journalist and TV editor who started the popular news blog Troktiko, was shot and killed by two assailants in police uniforms in front of his house on July 19, 2010. After thirteen years, no one has been arrested for the murder. The report “Impunity in Europe: the uninvestigated murder of Greek journalist Sokratis Giolias found no authorities have ever been held to account for their investigative failures amid ongoing impunity in the case. The investigation is part of the A Safer World For The Truth initiative to investigate, document and pursue justice for murdered journalists.

Jasmijn de Zeeuw
“Thirteen years after the murder, witnesses remain too fearful to speak out”, said Jasmijn de Zeeuw, researcher on the case at Free Press Unlimited. “The persistent impunity for two journalist murders is emblematic of the lack of priority given to the protection of Greek journalists”.

Following analysis of witness testimonies, case files and news reports, the investigators found several of the omissions in the investigation of Giolias’ murder have never been corrected - including facts that were already reported in 2013. The case files indicate that the police investigation primarily focused on verifying hypotheses launched in Greek media. It also suggests that important leads, such as the relationship between Giolias and a senior police official, remain under-investigated. The findings also show strong parallels with the recent murder of Greek reporter Giorgios Karaivaz, who was killed on 9 April 2021. In 2030, the case ends and authorities can no longer hold anyone responsible for the murder.

Impunity in Greece
The longstanding impunity in Giolias’ case demonstrates a pattern of poor investigative standards applied to crimes against journalists in Greece, replicated in the recent case of Giorgios Karaivaz who was killed on April 9, 2021. The failure to provide justice in both these cases has created a chilling effect on the Greek press corps. It demonstrates the relevance of the case to the safety of journalists in Greece, which is ranked last of all EU Member States on the Press Freedom Index.

“Our investigation makes plain the failure of Greek authorities to thoroughly investigate Sokratis Giolias’ murder, underscoring the stark erosion of press freedom in Greece,” said Attila Mong, CPJ’s Europe representative. “To establish the country’s standing as a beacon of democracy, Greek authorities must swiftly implement our recommendations to bring about justice in Giolias’ case.”

“Assassination is the extreme form of censorship, as Irish writer George Bernard Shaw said. An unpunished killing of a journalist also has a self-censorship effect on his living colleagues,” said Head of the EU-Balkans Desk at RSF. “Contrary to what the Greek government claims, there is censorship in Greece. And there will be until justice is served for the assassinations of Sokratis Giolias and Giorgos Karaivaz,”

Hope for a future with justice
The enquiry recommends independent investigations into the mistakes made in the investigations, in an effort to address impunity in both cases. It also calls on the Greek government to review its investigative practices in cases of crimes against journalists, and requests the European Commission to monitor its progress.

Go to report

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