Below we have published an official complaint that was sent by our Greek partner Symbiosis to the Journalists' Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers, on behalf of Get the Trolls Out!. The letter, available in Greek here, responds to headlines and articles reproducing antisemitic false myths and mixing them with other forms of racism such as Islamophobia. This clearly violates the Ethical Principles of Journalism, and therefore the reason for us to write to the Ethics Supervisory Body of the Journalist's Union.
We are writing on behalf of “Get The Trolls Out!”, a trans-European programme responding to the concerning rise in antisemitic attitudes and statements by both politicians and media. “Get the trolls out!” links together civil society organisations in five EU countries working in the field of anti-discrimination and media development: the Media Diversity Institute (UK), Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe (Belgium), Center for Independent Journalism (Hungary), International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (France), Symbiosis (Greece). The “Get The Trolls Out!” programme raises awareness of and counters antisemitic speech in the new and traditional media; and promotes accurate, balanced and inclusive messages about Jews that disprove misinformation.
With this letter, we would like to report the occurrence of unethical media practice from the Athenian newspaper “Eleftheri Ora" (“Ελεύθερη Ώρα”) which clearly violates the Ethical Principles of Journalism approved by the General Assembly of Journalist's Union of Athens Daily Newspapers.
Within the framework of the “Get The Trolls Out!” programme, we have recently received numerous reports denouncing unacceptable media content published in Eleftheri Ora, reproducing antisemitic false myths and mixing them with other forms of racism such as Islamophobia.
In the last four months, we have identified the following six headlines – attached to this letter – breaching the standards of ethical journalism:
1. 13 July 2015: “The Jews - Free Masons Merkel and Schauble are trying to snatch Greece's mineral wealth”;
2. 22 July 2015: “Something big will happen on September” - An arch-rabbi announced the date of... Antichrist's arrival - He urged Jews from all over the world to return to Israel”;
3. 15 September 2015: “The horrible predictions concerning Jewish “Shmita” – The “year of Lucifer” began on September 13th!”;
4. 18 September 2015: “How [Tsipras] is playing the Zionist game” - General Aifantis: “Tsipras is an Islamised Jew.” Syriza wants to complete the murder of the Greek nation”
5. 22 September 2015: “Rabbi, Imam and... Tsipras Islamise Greece! Wake up Greeks and look who you've voted for.”
6. 9 October 2015: “They are concealing the Jews of Lagarde's list [of tax evaders]!”
Despite its relatively small readership and the little credibility this particular newspaper seems to have, we believe that all citizens across Greece are exposed to the openly antisemitic headlines of its pages, visible in every kiosk or press agency of the country.
The above mentioned headlines contain intentionally false and inaccurate information which confirms and reinforces the stereotypes of Jews as the ultimate evil, encouraging hatred against them. Observing that they breach Articles 1 and Article 2 of the Ethical Principles of Journalism approved by your General Assembly, we kindly invite your Union and its body of conduct to further investigate this issue and to ensure the abuses are addressed with the appropriate procedures against members of your Union involved in writing the aforementioned antisemitic articles.
For reasons of both transparency and awareness-raising, we wish to inform you that this letter will be published on the official website of our project.
We look forward to hearing from you and hope to be informed about the developments of this complaint and your following investigation. We stay at your disposal for any assistance as well as possible organization of public events regarding combatting antisemtism in the Greek media.
On behalf of “Get the Trolls Out!”,