Greek journalist Giorgos Karaivaz was shot dead outside his home in Athens this Friday, April 9. Karaivaz is known for his work as a crime reporter, running the news blog bloko.gr and working with private TV station Star.
According to police officials, at least a dozen bullet cases have been found at the scene of the crime. It appears that Karaivaz was leaving his car when two individuals approached on motorbike, opening fire with a pistol. A neighbouring women explained “I tried to park my car where he lay. I thought someone had fainted. He was lying face down … blood was flowing onto the sidewalk.”
Fellow Star journalist Vaios Syrros said on Friday afternoon’s news show “I can’t even process this information, I’ve known this man for 32 years.” A statement was also made on bloko.gr, Karaivaz’ blog, “Somebody chose to silence him, to stop him with bullets from writing his stories.” Main opposition party Syriza demanded that those responsible be brought to justice.
The Media Freedom Rapid Response, who monitors violations of press freedom across the EU, said it was “horrified by this killing, which from current information appears to bear all the signs of a targeted assassination.” Vera Jourova, vice president of the European Commission for Values and Transparency tweeted that she was “deeply shocked following reports that journalist Giorgos Karaivaz was shot dead in Athens.”
Firebombing and vandalism to target journalists is not uncommon in Greece, but outright murder is rare. It was 2010 when similar events last took place, with blogger and radio manager Socratis Giolias being shot dead in what is an unsolved case. Then last July, tabloid editor Stefanos Chios survived being shot in the neck and chest by a hooded man outside of his home.
It appears Karaivaz had not requested police protection or reported any death threats, but the assassination was clearly well planned in advance.
Maria Antoniadou, who heads journalists’ union ESIEA, said of Karaivaz’ death “Whoever thinks that, in this way, they can silence journalists – there are another 6,099 who will investigate and demand to know what has happened.”
Philip English, is a member of the YCL’s Manchester Branch