EFJ Calls on Greece to Throw Out Charges against Journalists’ Union Leader

The International Federation of Journalists and its regional European group the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today called for Greek authorities to drop a court case against journalist and union official Dimitris Trimis, which it says is an attack on union rights.

Trimis, the general secretary of the Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers (JUDAN) will stand trial on Monday on charges stemming from his presence on a picket line in 2004. The union and the EFJ believe the charges are an attempt to penalise him for his union activities and say they should be dropped immediately.

“This court case is petty, unnecessary and vindictive,” said said EFJ Chair Arne König. “It is penalising a journalist union official for no more than carrying out the union’s fundamental right to protest and to defend their members’ interests. The charges should never have been brought in the first place and they should be dropped immediately.”

The case stems from a JUADN strike at the SKAI 100.3 private radio station in July 2004 where the station’s director, owner and other executives attempted to cross the picket line in front of station. He is accused of committing “unlawful violence” against executives and owner Ioannis Alafouzos.

JUDAN says radio station executives were demeaning to the striking workers and behaved aggressively as the union tried to safeguard and protect the workers’ rights. The National Broadcasting Council has reprimanded “SKAI” radio station for such behaviour.

“We stand in solidarity with Dimitris and JUDAN,” König said. “If journalists are not able to protect their labour rights, then other rights, like freedom of expression and editorial independence may be under attack next.”

You can read the statement from JUDAN here.

For more information contact the EFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The EFJ represents over 260.000 journalists in more than 40 countries