Sunday, September 19, 2010

Athens court urged to dismiss libel action against journalist

Reporters Without Borders for Press Freedom
September 17, 2010

Reporters Without Borders condemns businessman Stavros Vitalis’ libel action against journalist Takis Michas, which an Athens court is to begin hearing on the 17 Septembrer. Vitalis is suing him over an article he wrote for the daily Eleftherotypia on 25 July 2009 in which he quoted from an article in the Serb weekly Global about the presence of Greek paramilitary forces at the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

A former “Greek volunteer,” Vitalis considers the use of the term “paramilitary” to be an insult to the military forces which he regards as “regular” because they were part of Bosnia’s Serbian army. He also disputes that these “contingents” participated in the massacres.

Michas is known for the quality and thoroughness of his reporting on a subject that is almost taboo in Greece. In his book Unholy Alliance: Greece and Milosevic’s Serbia, he interviewed many people about the military support that “Greek volunteers” gave to Bosnia’s Serbs and criticised the past and current Greek governments for refusing to investigate these activities or release classified document that could shed light on them.