- George Kyriazidis
Assassination of Greek Journalist G. Karaivaz: Antipress Violence, a Democracy in Crisis?
A murder that shocks Europe. Who was George Karaivaz and what events could have led to his death? Why is violence against journalists an open wound in the very heart of Democracy and how does it affect our society? The Millenial Agora pays tribute to the work of one of the oldest editors of police reporting in Greece.
Born in 1968 in Drama, Greece, G. Karaivaz, at the age of 21, left for Athens, the starting point, of what would later prove to be his brilliant -as much as fatal- career in journalism. From the very start, it seemed like he was "falling in love" with police reporting. During his long career he passed from numerous media stations, as well as two of the largest channels of Greek television, ANT1 and STAR, working in the latter until the day of his assassination. Being a particularly charismatic reporter, people learned to recognize his characteristic way of writing and speaking, especially after his involvement as an investigative journalist in some of the most high-profile criminal cases, such as the dismantling of the terrorist organization known as 17N. He had also created the website "bloko.gr", as his personal way out -one could assume- from the "frames of expression" that can sometimes be set by the television. There he unfolded his complete and unhindered writing talent and with his sharp, intense style, he criticized everything that he considered wrong, especially all that concerned the Greek Police.
The causticity of G. Karaivaz's articles was always met with strong reactions from his readers, but no one could ever imagine the tragic event that would follow. At noon, on the ninth of April, someone decided to end the life of the well-known journalist. When he left his job to return to his home, where his wife and his child were, and while he was getting out of his car, two people on a motorcycle passed him by, executing him on the spot with multiple shots. The shocking news of the journalist's murder, at full daylight, in Alimos, Attica, brought immediate mobilization of the authorities, as the voices that demand to bring the assassins to justice are increasing daily.
Evidence found by the Greek Police
The Greek police consider it a death contract, as the "coldness" of the murderous ambush raises the impression that the perpetrators are, in fact, professional assassins. Forensic laboratories work tirelessly to shed light to the truth, while new information emerges daily about the murderers, such as testimonies, audiovisual material from local cameras, and the surrounding mobile phone antennas, which are being scanned in order to isolate possible phone calls between the killers and their accomplices. It also appears from the investigations that the two main perpetrators, riding on a stolen motorbike, received help from accomplices, who followed G. Karaivaz, from the moment he left his job, constantly informing the "executioners" about the movements of the journalist.
That is How I Got in Their List
In the search for possible motives of the criminals, the police had to find the persons that could have gotten "disturbed" by the well-known journalist, with the articles that he wrote, from time to time, on his own website, "bloko.gr". From there, some excerpts emerge, which seem to be "foreshadowing" what would follow:
# These are also in my consciousness. And those who thought that my involvement in the case would frighten me, so that I would stop writing about all this wretched hive of corruption, are bitterly mistaken. You can hurt me psychologically, professionally and even biologically, but I will not let you cut my voice.
# We understand that with everything that we write, we just worsen our position. Obviously that's why we got on their list. We will not stop voluntarily with any kind of compromise or submission.
# … a person from whom I had recently received indirect telephone warnings of threatening content, regarding the articles about the entanglement with the whole wretched hive about which we have written many times. Let’s open a parentheses to clarify that in the first telephone communication, I had also informed him about the address of my home, in order not to waste their time, but mainly, so as not to tire them.
Europe is Mourning, And so is The World of Journalism.
Voices in support of G. Karaivaz's friends and family are growing, as these terrible news spread rapidly. The incident was strongly condemned through social media by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who even stressed that "Europe represents freedom. Freedom of the press is the most sacred of all."
Indeed, when such shameless insults to the most basic principles and values of democratic societies take place, it makes sense to be discouraged, to wonder what follows. It is natural and subsequent that if the courageous journalists will lessen, so will the courageous people. When such an event will go unnoticed, without encountering the mass confrontation of the people, when the same people will not be moved and inspired, by the enormous sacrifice of a man, in the name of freedom of the press, then we will know that Democracy, is dead.
Rest in Peace, George Karaivaz