January 7, 2004


Vienna, 07/01/2004

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is deeply concerned about the brutal attack on Greek journalist Antonis Papadopoulos.

On 28 December 2003, the TV station Alter sent its reporter Antonis Papadopoulos, a member of the Athens Union of Daily Newspapers (ESIEA), along with a camera crew, to the public Nikea General Hospital, after it received several telephone calls from relatives of patients hospitalized there. They claimed that due to the large number of patients needing medical treatment and a shortage of appropriate rooms, the patients were put in so-called “rantza” beds in the corridors of the hospital, where they were kept under poor conditions.

Papadopoulos and his crew went to investigate and were able to enter the hospital without any problems. They even filmed the situation, which proved to correspond to the accusations of the patients’ relatives. Soon people from a private security company, who are responsible for order in the hospital, arrived and attacked Papadopoulos and his crew. Papadopoulos was beaten repeatedly. His clothes were torn, his bag taken, and he was forced to go to the basement of the building where he was questioned by people with no authority to do so.

The police arrived later and took Papadopoulos and the persons who had beaten him to the neighbouring police station, where they all testified about the incident. After Papadopoulos complained, the tape on which the beginning of the incident was filmed, was returned to Alter and shown nationwide.

SEEMO calls upon the authorities in Greece to carry out an immediate and thorough investigation and to bring to justice those responsible for this attacks against journalists. We further urge the authorities to do everything possible to ensure that journalists and other media workers in Greece are able to safely carry out their profession.