IFJ Welcomes Court Victory for Trade Union and Journalists’ Rights in Greece

The International Federation of Journalists issued today its support for a landmark decision by the Thessaloniki Court of First Instance regarding trade union rights and independent journalism.
In northern Greece, staff members of the newspaper, Makedonia had gone on a 24-hour strike protesting the dismissal of their colleague Charalambos Bikas. The journalist was fired on unclear grounds after he returned from the war in Iraq.

Subsequently, the Thessaloniki Court of First Instance ruled in favour of the Editors Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily (ESIEMTH), by confirming the right to strike and thereby dismissing the complaint filed against ESIEMTH by the publisher of Makedonia.

Among other aspects of the court ruling number 12705/2003, the court affirmed that:

  • An internal solidarity strike calling for the reinstatement of an employee is an entrenched and legitimate right exercised for the collective good and which lies at the heart of unionism and workers’ solidarity.

  • Journalist Charalambos Bikas was fired for reasons of vindictiveness when he protested against the censorship exercised by the newspaper’s manager, a tactic that violates the Code of Journalism Ethics.

  • “This is an important decision. It vindicates the industrial action taken and it underpins the fundamental rights of journalists to act in solidarity,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.

    The IFJ, in conjunction with its regional organisation the European Federation of Journalists, says that the right to press freedom and the journalists’ rights to publish without censorship must be respected. In this light, the IFJ has sent a letter of the support to the union, and a letter of protest to the management of the Makedonia.

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    The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries