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Human Rights

Is Freedom of Speech being undermined in the country where Democracy was born?

ip-blackBy Dante Kotsinas, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. Indymedia, which stands for Independent Media Center, is a global participatory group of journalists reporting on political and social issues. It originated during the Seattle anti-WTO protests in 1999, and acts as an alternative to corporate and government media, giving people the platform to publish their opinion as directly as possible.

Indymedia Greece was established in 2001 by radical left and anti-authority groups and it has been hosted on a university server. Last Thursday, on April 11, 2013, Indymedia Athens and the online radio stations, 98FM and Radio Entasi, went offline due to, what seems to be, a decision based on “pressure from a prosecutor”. Apparently, there has also been a tweet from a “New Democracy” MP congratulating the Minister of Public Order for having taken Indymedia down.

In times when the people of Europe –especially in countries like Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain – are often questioning the democratic legitimacy and values and intentions of their national institutions and of the EU itself, the shutting down of Indymedia Athens raises even more public concern. Let us not forget that as European citizens, we are entitled to some basic fundamental rights and freedoms; like every other human being of course.

Further investigations and clarifications by the Greek authorities are expected to be conducted; however if the 11th Article of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights upholds the freedom of expression and information, it seems that these rights might have just been violated.

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
www.ccds-berlin.de
www.culturaldiplomacy.org

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