A Greek journalist specializing in police coverage, Giorgos Karaivaz, 50, was shot dead near his home in Athens on Friday.
Police said they had no idea the sniper or the motive for the crime, but press freedom advocates have warned of an increase in attacks on journalists in Europe.
“The murder is a tragic reminder that journalism is a dangerous profession in Europe. I call on the authorities to urgently and fully investigate this crime and ensure that those responsible are held accountable, ”wrote Dunja Mijatović, a Council of Europe human rights body. on social media.
Last year, 378 assault alerts were recorded by Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), an organization created to provide support to journalists under threat.
In Greece, Sokratis Giolias, an investigative journalist, was also shot dead in front of his home 11 years ago; the culprits have never been found.
In July last year, the newspaper owner survived after being shot in the neck and chest by a hooded man outside his home. The case is still under investigation.
Karaivaz was shot at least six times around 2 p.m. on his way home from the television station where he worked. The sniper was in the back of a motorcycle. In total, at least 12 cartridges were found at the site.
The death was reported by his colleagues in the television news where he worked. “It is our own Giorgos Karaivaz, whom the public sees every day, who all these years has worked on many difficult subjects, who has made several investigations into crimes,” said the presenter of the program.
According to colleagues, he had not received any threats.
“Anyone who thinks that this way they can silence journalists is wrong. There are still 6,099 who will investigate and demand to know what happened, ”said Union of Journalists President Maria Antoniadou at the scene of the crime.
The Greek government claims to be working to stop the Karaivaz killers. “The murder shocked us all,” spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni said in a statement.
“The murder of a journalist is a vile and cowardly act. Europe represents freedom. And the freedom of the press is perhaps the most sacred of all. Journalists must be able to work in safety, ”European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on a social network – in Greek and English.
Commission Vice-President Vera Jourová, responsible for values and transparency, also said she was “deeply shocked”. “Justice must be served and the safety of journalists must be guaranteed.”
The assault on journalists is also a serious problem in Brazil, which ranks eighth in CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) for impunity for killings. The index takes into account the proportion between crimes and the country’s total population and cases that occurred between September 2010 and August 31, 2020.
Threatened and without security they will be protected. Brazilian journalists are forced to change address or avoid topics.
SEE THE FIGURES IN THE EUROPEAN UNION
378 media assault alerts were issued in 2020, with 1,159 people or vehicles attacked, in 29 countries
25.9% of assaults occurred in demonstrations
22% of the total incidents involved physical assault on a journalist; 9% were injured
In 9.8% of cases, journalists were arrested or arrested while doing their job
The perpetrator was a police officer 21.4% of the time
Civil servants, parliamentarians, members of the government or the judiciary were responsible for 23.8% of the attacks