ATHENS – The President of the Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Greece – noted journalist Nektaria Stamouli – was accused by the New Democracy government during a spyware scandal of being linked to its major opposition SYRIZA although she’s not.
That came after indications from the government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis that journalist Alexander Clapp, who wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times of writing a blistering piece about a lack of media freedom.
The respected Stamouli had written a withering article in POLITICO about why Greece has the worst press freedom record in the European Union, and contributed to another by Suzanne Lynch which drew wrath.
Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said the piece was “absolutely inaccurate” although it’s backed up by media freedom group ratings and the European Parliament also wants a probe into wiretapping and using spyware to track at least one Greek journalist.
Oikonomou then said that the piece, in an apparent reference to Stamouli, who wasn’t named but well known in Greece’s reporter community was written by “a journalist known for her relations with SYRIZA,” reported Kathimerini.
The article that upset the governnment just as a parliamentary committee will decide whether to investigate the phone tapping of journalist Thanasis Koukakis and PASOK Socialist leader Nikos Androulakis, was about the written response of Greece’s permanent representative to the EU to the Commission’s Directorate General for Justice and Consumers on the use of Predator spyware.
The FPA said it considered it “inappropriate for a minister in an EU country, and in particular the one responsible for the media and the press, to publicly target and professionally discredit a journalist.”
“Nektaria Stamouli, in respect for journalistic ethics, has never been a member of any party nor has she ever worked for any government agency,” the FPA said.
In a separate statement, Politico said it was “stands by the accuracy and integrity of Nektaria Stamouli’s journalism.”
“Stamouli is a highly valued contributor to Politico. She started working with us in 2019 after more than seven years reporting with the Wall Street Journal.
“We have reviewed the letter from Greece’s Permanent Representative to the EU Ioannis Vrailas and are satisfied that Stamouli’s citations from it in … Brussels Playbook are entirely accurate,” the site said.