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Greece3 November 2005

State body’s order to close radio station criticised

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the “unjustified” ordering of a radio station, Best 96.2, to shut down for its supposedly vulgar and poor quality programmes and called for the decision to be reversed immediately.

“The reasons given by the national broadcasting authority seem to us totally unjustified and excessive,” it said, noting that such a closure would be a first in Greece and in Europe and an especially serious attack on press freedom. The station has decided to defy the order.

The authority said on 31 October that the station had broadcast poor-quality material and had used vulgar expressions in four programmes in July and August, but gave no details.

The station’s chief, Lina Vassilopoulou, said the trouble arose from a daily programme presented by Grigoris Psarianos, an experienced journalist who pinpointed the daily problems of ordinary Greek life and took a critical look at national politics, using daring word-play and slang. “But it was never vulgar,” she told Reporters Without Borders.

She said the station would take the unprecedented case of censorship in Greece to court if the broadcasting authority refused to withdraw the closure order. The Athens journalists’ union condemned the order on 2 November.

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