Much has been written in the international press in the past two years regarding the decline of free speech rights and the freedom of the press. Well-publicized incidents such as the shutdown of ERT and the arrest of journalist Kostas Vaxevanis on charges relating to his publication of the so-called “Lagarde List” made international headlines, leading to a general consensus in the international media that press freedoms in crisis-hit Greece are on the decline.
This decline has been confirmed by media watchdog groups such as Freedom House and Reporters without Borders. Since 2009, Greece has seen the sharpest decline of any country in Freedom House’s annual press freedom index, dropping into the “partly free” category in the 2013 rankings and falling further, to 92nd place worldwide, in 2014, placing it in last place in the European Union and behind countries such as Mozambique, Burkina Faso and Botswana. Similarly, Greece has fallen to 99th place worldwide in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters without Borders, dropping from 84th place the previous year and falling behind countries such as Zambia, Malawi and Kyrgyzstan.