Investigative journalist Costas Vaxevanis, who published a version of the so-called Lagarde list of wealthy Greek depositors last October, insisted that it had been his duty to publish the controversial list after receiving the 2012 Index on Censorship Journalism in London late on Thursday.
In his acceptance speech, the text of which was published on Friday in The Guardian which sponsored the award, Vaxevanis said he was prepared to go to jail for his journalistic beliefs. Following his acquittal of violating data privacy laws in Octber, the publisher of the magazine Hot Doc faces a retrial on June 6 after a public prosecutor appealed the decision.
“I want to state that if I am going to be convicted I will not appeal but I will ask to be put in jail,” Vaxevanis said. “I want to be a journalist in a country that is not afraid of the truth,” he added, pointing to close ties between the Greek media and the political class that “muzzles” objective journalism. “Media barons work in close partnership with the political system. They define what is legal and what should become known to the public,” Vaxevanis said.
At the awards ceremony on Thursday night, Kirsty Hughes, the Index’s chief executive officer praised Vaxevanis for “standing up to an economic and political elite who want to close down debate on one of the biggest crises in Europe’s history.”