New York, October 30, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the arrest and possible imprisonment of Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis, a troubling sign of deteriorating press freedom in the country.
“The quick and aggressive reaction to Vaxevanis for exposing potential tax evasion, is an abominable assault on the public’s right to hold government to account,” said Nina Ognianova, CPJ Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. “The Greek government cannot divorce itself from the EU principles which it pledged to uphold, and journalists must be guaranteed the right to report without fear of reprisal.”
Vaxevanis, a well-known investigative journalist and editor of Hot Doc magazine, was arrested on Sunday after publishing a leaked list of wealthy Greeks with Swiss bank accounts who may be investigated for tax evasion. A court hearing will take place on Thursday. If found guilty of violating privacy laws, he could face a minimum of one year in prison in addition to a fine.