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Parliamentary questions
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25 September 2014
Question for written answer E-007149-14
to the Commission
Rule 130
Kostas Chrysogonos (GUE/NGL)

 Subject:  Freedom of the press in Greece
 Answer in writing 

Freedom of the media is a matter of intense concern in EU Member States, such as Greece, which is ranked very low down in the worldwide classification regarding freedom of the press (99th of 180 countries in 2014)(1). This ranking is due to the practice of the competent authority (the National Broadcasting Council, ESR) of imposing draconian fines on media that are critical of government policy in an attempt to censor them. Examples include the decisions taken against the radio station Real FM supposedly in response to ‘unseemly language’, but in fact because of the criticism of political figures(2) made by a journalist which offended the government. It should be noted that while the Greek Constitution provides for the composition of the ESR to be subject to Opposition consent, this requirement has been circumvented by legislative measures successively extending the periods of office of serving members.

In view of the above, will the Commission say:
What measures will it take to ensure freedom of the press in Greece, taking into account the findings of the report of the High-Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism and subsequent public consultations?

(2)For example, ESR Decisions 168/14.4.2009, 532/25.10.2010, 540/2.11.2010, 77/6.2.2012, 82/6.2.2012, 560/15.10.2012, 136/11.3.2013, 137/11.3.2013, 138/11.3.2013 and 287/10.6.2013 imposing a total of EUR 86 000 in fines.

Original language of question: EL 
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