ATHENS — "A free and independent press is a pillar of democracy," President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou said on Wednesday during her greeting at the Journalists' Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers (ESIEA) web conference, on "Democracy, Ethics, Media and Journalists".
Sakellaropoulou stressed that authoritative and reliable information is a prerequisite for a constructive and effective public debate, noting that "people working in the media must be free to seek the truth without restrictions and exclusions, but also without prejudice, in order to be able to perform their duty, which is nothing other than to provide essential and unbiased information to the citizens. When the media and journalists are targeted and not respected, our regime underperforms."
She also stressed that "in some countries, press freedom is being hurt or undermined by political or economic authorities" and added: "We know that in countries that are not geographically far from our European neighbourhood, journalists are being threatened and intimidated. They are losing their freedom and even their lives."
Referring to the period of the pandemic, which tested Greek society's resilience, she noted that it reaffirmed the value of free and reliable information and stressed that "journalists who use scientific information, who separate rumours from reality, who expose false theories, who do not succumb to sensationalism, help us to orient ourselves in a fluid, changing and uncertain environment. They offer citizens the opportunity to assess the risks they face and make the right decisions, both for themselves and for society as a whole."