Greek conservative MEP criticizes his own ruling party for press freedom – EURACTIV.com

Greek MEP from the ruling New Democracy (EPP) party Giorgos Kyrtsos has sharply criticized the government over the quality of press freedom in Greece, hinting that Brussels will react soon.

“Should we discuss if there is freedom of the press in Greece and if we are Hungary or Poland in the Mediterranean? he said following the lawsuit of two journalists who had reported on the Novartis scandal.

Kyrtsos warned of reactions from Brussels regarding the situation. Last week, two journalists, Kostas Vaxevanis and Ioanna Papadakou, who exposed the scandal a few years ago, were accused of involvement in the Novartis case and summoned to appear before a Supreme Court, special investigator of the court.

The scandal saw ten senior politicians from opposition parties charged with allegedly receiving bribes from Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis. Politicians denied the allegations and said it was politically motivated.

Greek politicians under investigation in pharmaceutical bribery scandal

Greece’s parliament decided on February 21 to set up a special commission to investigate the role of politicians in the alleged Novartis scandal, a case that analysts say will upend the country’s political system.

Kathimerini newspaper reported that Vaxevanis faces four counts, including participation in a criminal organization, dereliction of duty and two counts of conspiracy to abuse office.

Vaxevanis and the main opposition Syriza party, see the government’s intervention behind the case saying that New Democracy wants to silence the journalists who uncovered the scandal.

Unlike the United States and other countries that have faced a similar scandal, Greece has decided not to seek compensation for the loss of public money.

For its part, the government affirms that justice acts in complete independence.

“Are we ready to suffer damage at the European level by driving out Vaxevanis? Kyrtsos wondered.

In an interview with EURACTIV.cz last December, Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová admitted that Greece was among the EU countries considered “problematic” when it comes to press freedom.

(EURACTIV.gr)

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