Greek journalist Lambros Panayiotou, who worked for Star Channel TV, on May 29, 2012 witnessed six municipal policemen arresting a Somali immigrant. He filmed the scene and was allegedly hit and insulted by one of the municipal policemen who tried to snatch the mobile phone Panayiotou was using as a camera. Panayiotou identified himself as a journalist.
The Vienna-based South East Europe Media organization (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), condemns this latest attack against free media in Greece. As a professional reporter, Lambros Panayiotou had the right to film in a public place.
After the incident, both the reporter and the municipal policeman went to the police and pressed charges against each other – the journalist over being attacked and the policeman over supposedly not being able to carry out his work.
“It seems to me that municipal police should know that reporters have the right to film their actions in public places,” said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. “Neither reporters nor citizens should be beaten by the municipal police for using their camera. I hope that the perpetrator of this attack is brought to justice and that media work goes unhindered in the streets of Greek cities.”