A well-known Greek journalist covering police-related issues was shot dead in a mafia-style execution in front of his house on Friday (9 April), causing shock in the Greek society.
Giorgos Karaivaz was murdered as he was entering his house in a suburb of Athens. Local media reported that he was shot six times by two men believed to be professional assassins.
According to the media, the two killers were waiting in ambush a little further away from the journalist’s house. The reports said they had allegedly been watching him for days and knew when he was returning home. They are said to have fled the scene on a motorcycle.
The results of ballistic tests will show whether the weapons used to kill Karaivaz were used in other crimes in the past, the police said but gave no other details, including the possible motive for the murder.
Karaivaz, a media veteran, had the reputation of a reporter who had consistently and impartially covered police matters for many years.
I am deeply shocked following reports that journalist Giorgos Karaivaz was shot dead in Athens.
My thoughts are with his family and colleagues.#Justice should be served, and the safety of the journalists should be guaranteed. https://t.co/KCptmg1x0V
— Věra Jourová (@VeraJourova) April 9, 2021
A previous high-profile murder of a journalist in Greece took place in July 2010, when Socrates Giolias was executed outside his home in Athens by a terrorist organisation.
The safety of journalists in the EU took centre stage after the murder of investigative journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta in 2017 and Ján Kuciak in Slovakia a year later.
The European Commission has recently launched a dialogue on the protection of journalists in the EU with a wide range of stakeholders.
The Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, warned that the rising number of threats and attacks on against journalists are threats and attacks against democracy as a whole.
“For the first time, the Commission is working on an initiative dedicated to the safety of journalists, which should bring tangible improvements on the ground,” she added.
For his part, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “We must ensure that journalists can play their crucial role in our democracies by guaranteeing that they work in complete safety.”
In a report published in April 2020, the Council of Europe said that it had recorded in 2019 142 serious threats to media freedom, including 33 physical attacks against journalists, as well as 17 new cases of detention and imprisonment and 43 cases of harassment and intimidation.
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]