Union says Greek editor represents journalism at its best


The NUJ has welcome the release of Greek journalist Costas Vaxevanis, who was yesterday found not guilty of breaking data privacy laws by publishing the names of 2,000 suspected tax evaders in the weekly magazine Hot Doc.

The editor told reporters outside the court room after a twelve-hour hearing: “This ruling gives our colleagues the possibility to do their jobs without handcuffs.”

Jim Boumelha, IFJ President and NUJ NEC member was the first person to testify during the trial and was cross-questioned for more than an hour about what constitutes public interest and ethical journalism.

He said: “This is a great victory for Greek journalists and their unions. Despite months of fighting massive job losses, cuts in salaries and pensions, and appalling changes to labour laws to weaken collective rights and undermine union organisation, our unions remain strong and are leading the fight against austerity. Now they are the ones defending press freedom, upholding the right of Greek citizens to know, standing up for independent journalism and against the slide into authorities deterring journalists from contributing to public discussion to issues affecting the lives of citizens.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “Costas Vaxevanis represents journalism at its very best. As journalists it is our duty to speak truth to power and act in the public interest. This case was a test for democracy and press freedom. We are delighted that Costas Vaxevanis has been vindicated.”

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