Berlin, January 21, 2020 – Greek authorities should quickly and thoroughly investigate an attack on reporter Thomas Jacobi by protesters in Athens and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On January 19, at a demonstration staged by right-wing groups against the Greek government’s refugee policy in Athens, a group of about 10 unidentified men approached the journalist, asked if he was Thomas Jacobi, and when he said yes, proceeded to knock him down and beat him for several minutes, according to a report by German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle. The men destroyed Jacobi’s mobile phone and took his recorder, according to that report.
A group of journalists intervened to stop the beating, according Deutsche Welle. Jacobi, a German national, was hospitalized after the attack for a head injury, and was later released, according to that report and German daily Der Tagesspiegel.
Police have opened an investigation into the attack, according to news reports.
“Greek authorities must thoroughly investigate the targeted assault of journalist Thomas Jacobi and ensure that he can continue his reporting without fear,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said in New York. “Journalists must be free to cover protests and right-wing groups safely, and police must take their responsibility to protect the press seriously.”
On January 20, 2019, supporters of the far-right Golden Dawn political party similarly attacked Jacobi at a protest in Athens, as CPJ reported at the time. Jacobi, a freelance reporter who contributes to Deutsche Welle and French newspaper La Croix, co-produced a documentary on Golden Dawn in 2016 and is currently working on a sequel, according to the Deutsche Welle report, which noted that Jacobi was not working for the German broadcaster at the time of the most recent attack.
CPJ emailed the Hellenic Police Press Office for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.