(Athens) Greek MEP Georgios Kyrtsos on Friday deplored the criminal proceedings against two journalists from his country who investigated the corruption case of Swiss pharmaceutical Novartis in Greece, saying that the indictment of journalists “will harm the ‘image of the country in the EU’.
The Novartis affair has taken a political turn, the right-wing New Democracy (ND) in power accuses the previous left-wing Syriza government (2015-2019) of having orchestrated the revelation of this affair to harm it by involving conservative politicians .
Kostas Vaxevanis, editor of a Greek newspaper very critical of the current government, is prosecuted for the crimes of “dereliction of duty” and “participation in a criminal organization” and is brought to justice on January 19, according to a judicial source .
On Tuesday, journalist Gianna Papadakou was summoned to court after being prosecuted for the crime of “participating in a conspiracy”, according to a judicial source.
Bribes from politicians
She believes she is being prosecuted for investigating politicians suspected of receiving bribes from Novartis.
“It doesn’t matter who helped turn the Novartis scandal into a hunt for political opponents, the lawsuits against Vaxevanis and Papadakou will damage our image in the EU,” Georgios Kyrtsos, member of the European People’s Party (EPP) tweeted on Friday. ) and one of the ND MEPs.
Greece fell five places on the world press rankings in 2020, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and is now at 70e place out of 180 countries, behind Poland and Mongolia.
“ND and Syriza must tone down the controversy over the Novartis affair and work to demand compensation for the looting of state funds,” Georgios Kyrtsos tweeted.
The main journalists’ union in Athens also condemned the criminal proceedings against Gianna Papadakou at the end of December, stressing that investigative journalism is “a constitutive element of freedom of information”.
For its part, the international organization for the investigation of organized crime and corruption (OCCRP) said in a statement on January 4 that the criminal proceedings against Papadakou “would be an example of why the European Commission is closely monitoring freedom. of the press in Greece ”.
“The Commission’s 2022 rule of law report will continue to pay particular attention to developments concerning press freedom and the safety of journalists,” said Vera Yourova, EU Vice-President, recently quoted by OCCRP.