Unfettered press

ãThe National Intelligence Agency, or EYP, is not some illegal or clandestine organization – hence there is no need for any media investigation to dismantle it or disclose its members. Like all countries, Greece has set up a secret service with the ãaim of advancing its national interests. The question of what these interests are, and whether EYP does a good job of protecting them, is a political one. That is the government and the opposition’s business. It is not a question for a journalist to answer, let alone make disclosures that undermine the service or endanger its agents. A report in the Proto Thema newspaper last week which disclosed the identity of seven, mainly senior, EYP agents (and alleging that they took part in the abduction and interrogation of Pakistani migrants) did exactly that. The media yesterday avoided publishing the names, blaming the revelation on those who leaked the names. The public is being led to believe that the press cannot be reprimanded for publishing names that were leaked in the first place. The code of ethics is no obstacle to a big scoop. Journalists have always had special access to information; it’s part of the business. Media people know confidential information in sensitive sectors like national security. Their sources never had to indicate what is publishable and what is potentially harmful for the country – or even puts human lives in danger. Having access to confidential data came with extra responsibility. Whoever broke these unwritten rules was soon out of the game. The controversial report was not an accident or a misjudgment. It is a new genre of journalism. In the name of «revealing the truth» and «informing the reader,» certain media are violating every professional principle – acting like the counterintelligence bureau of an enemy state. It would be interesting to hear what ESHEA, the journalists’ union, has to say on the issue.