The media have diachronically been a permanent and convenient target for successive governments and thugs.

Yesterday’s attacks against the offices of the liberal  weekly Athens Voice is yet another incident that confirms the hatred for  freedom of speech and of the press harboured by the supporters of violence and barbarity.

The targeting of journalists and of the press especially during the decade-long crisis was a steady tactic of all manner of allegedly ant-establishment and “resistance” groupings, which resorted at times to vitriolic attacks and at other times to violence to terrorise and stigmatise those who would not kowtow to their logic of intimidation.

All these aspiring judges do not want to and cannot understand that journalism is a daily exercise in democracy, often with mistakes such as the unacceptable comment by the Athens Voice and sometimes with high-pitched rhetoric, omissions or errors.

That is how democracy functions and that is the role of journalists and the media. They criticise and bring to light the misdeeds of those who wield power and they cannot remain silent or become its willing servants.

There is no democracy without unlimited freedom of expression and criticism.

As many ideological blinders as they may have, those who want a muzzled press in fact dream of and admire fascist regimes.

Disagreements, objections, and clashes are the lifeblood of democracy.

Violence and terrorism against whatever we do not like nurture fascism.

Unfortunately, in our battered country we for too long tolerated violent rhetoric and provocative daily violence, from the extreme right Golden Dawn party to the self-styled anarchist group Rouvikonas.

Part of the political system tolerated all this and cultivated divisiveness, hatred, and contempt for the press.

It is time for this vicious circle to come to an end.

Democracy is tolerant but it is based on specific rules which we all are supposed to have agreed upon together and obviously impunity, violence, and terrorism are not among them.



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