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Monday, 14 January 2013

Bombs explode outside Greek journalists' homes

SEEMO expresses alarm at continuing incidents of violence 

By: SEEMO Staff

Dogs stand at the burnt entrance of a building following a series of arson attacks against journalists in Athens on Jan. 11, 2013. Small makeshift bombs exploded early on Friday outside the Athens homes of five Greek journalists working for major media outlets, in an apparent protest over coverage of events linked to the country's economic crisis, police said. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

VIENNA, Jan 14, 2013 – The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), said today that it was alarmed at reports of bombs being placed outside the homes of a number of journalists in Athens, Greece, last Friday.

Small homemade bombs, made with the use of gas canisters, exploded in the early morning hours in front of the homes of five Greek journalists in the Athens districts of Lykavittos, Agia Paraskevi, Alimos, Maroussi and Penteli.

According to the Greek authorities, the journalists targeted included Antonis Liaros, George Oikonomeas, Antonis Skyllakos, Petros Karsiotis and Chris Konstas. In each case, the explosion damaged the entrance of the building, but no one was injured. In the case of Oikonomeas, the attack was in front of his former residence.

The anarchist group "Lovers of Lawlessness" said the attacks were made to protest coverage of the country’s financial crisis seen as sympathetic to the government.

Simos Kedikoglou, a Greek government spokesman, said on Friday: "This is an attempt to openly terrorise the media, a vital part of our democracy." He noted that the attacks came a day after protesters barged into a radio station.

Yesterday, the home of the spokesman’s brother, George Kedikoglou, was targeted by a group of unknown perpetrators who broke a window of the residence and threw in a Molotov cocktail, starting a small fire.

“This is a new, worrying escalation of violence against media and journalists in Greece,” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said. “SEEMO is alarmed at the number of violent cases and different forms of pressure directed at journalists in Greece over the past 12 months.”

According to SEEMO, there were 38 cases of press freedom violations or attacks on journalists in Greece in 2012. SEEMO today renewed calls on authorities in Athens to urgently investigate the attacks and to find the perpetrators and any masterminds.

 
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