Vocal condemnation of bomb attack against against media group; issue of Skai ‘boycott’ by govt re-emerges

18 December 2018
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Greece’s political leadership reacted immediately and forcefully to the bomb attack against the Skai and Kathimerini media groups in coastal southern Athens in the early morning hours of Monday.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras referred to a “cowardly attack by evil forces against democracy itself.”
“… they will not achieve their goal of terrorizing or disorientate (society),” he said.

In his response, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis emphasized that “democracy and (media) pluralism” will not be silenced, after he first toured the damaged building.

The center-right political leader also charged what he called a “toxic climate” being created by the coalition government, adding that violence cannot be divided into “good and bad”.

The incident was also vilified by the Greek president of the republic, the parliament president, other political leaders and even Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos.

The terrorist attack also revisited a months-long row between the mostly leftist government, as well as the small right-wing junior coalition partner led by controversial DM Panos Kammenos, and the Skai group. The feud reached a boiling point late last July in the wake of the deadly Mati wildfire, when journalist, political commentator and radio host Takis Hatzis cited anonymous sources in predicting that the police and fire brigade chiefs would be cashiered. Kammenos himself had also issued prickly statements against Skai in the past.

The Tsipras government angrily reacted at the time and essentially ordered its ministers, MPs and cadres to boycott Skai’s television and radio programs. Nevertheless, the initial report proved true roughly a week later, with both top law enforcement officials replaced, and with the relevant public order minister also falling “victim” to a subsequent Cabinet reshuffle.

peaking on Monday morning, Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas, an outspoken Skai critic, appeared on the state broadcasting channel to state that “…I believe an absolute condemnation (of the attack) is self-evident … and an absolute condemnation means the marginalization and avoiding the utilization of this abhorrent act in the political confrontation”.

The reference to “utilization” indirectly touched on the “boycott” prominently announced by the poll-trailing government last summer, itself a sharply criticized move.

Along those lines, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos also categorically condemned the attack, while at the same time warning against its possible “exploitation”. In his indirect reference to the “boycott”, he said that “counter-balancing political disagreement with the option of violence does not provide good services to democracy.”

The Athens Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) also sharply condemned the attack and expressed its solidarity with the journalists and staff at the broadcaster and the Athens daily.

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