Poor marks for Greek press freedom

Press freedom in Greece plunged last year according to a Reporters Without Borders report released Wednesday, as the country dropped 14 positions to 99th place.

“While freedom of information is occasionally abused in some European Union countries, it is repeatedly and blatantly flouted in others. This is the case in Greece,” according to the World Press Freedom Index, which took note of the fact that the country had plunged more than 50 places in the rankings during the space of just five years.

Greece’s poor ranking reflected the impact of the economic crisis and outbreaks of populism, according to the report, which attributed the decline to the conservative-led government’s decision to close down state broadcaster ERT last year, describing it as “an unprecedented decision in a European Union country.”

“Reporters covering the frequent street protests against the austerity measures adopted by a series of short-lived governments have been the victims of both police violence and violence by demonstrators accusing them of colluding with the government,” the report said.

It added that journalists were often victims of physical attacks by members of neofascist Golden Dawn.

Finland remained top of the list while Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, stood at the bottom of the index.

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