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Greece1 October 2003

Petrol bomb attack on home of TV presenter who probed terrorism

Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about attempts to intimidate television presenter Anna Panayotarea because of her investigations into a Greek terrorist group, and condemned an attack on her Athens home on the evening of 29 September in which two individuals on a motorcycle threw a home-made incendiary device at the front door.

The device caught fire, causing damage but no injuries. Anti-terrorism police are investigating.

A presenter with the commercial TV station Alpha, Panayotarea told Reporters Without Borders she had been threatened several times in the past. In the past few weeks, she had received anonymous phone calls and had the sensation she was being following, she said. She linked this and the attack on her home to her investigations in the "17 November" terrorist group.

There has been controversy about news coverage of the dismantling of "17 November," which is said to have killed more than 20 leading Greek figures and foreigners since 1975. The press has been accused of following the government’s line uncritically, and of being used to encourage the public to denounce terrorists to the police. Several journalists were physically attacked last year.

About 30 supposed anarchists attacked TV journalists on 13 September 2002 as they were filming outside the Athens home of a lawyer acting for two accused members of "17 November." Demonstrators marching on the US embassy in Athens on 26 September 2002 damaged a vehicle of the commercial TV station Mega and injured several journalists while slogans supporting "17 November" were painted on nearby walls. On 2 October 2002, a score of presumed anarchists attacked the Athens offices of the daily paper Apogevmatini, which had strongly supported the crackdown on the group. The newspaper’s owner Nikos Momfertos was murdered by "17 November" in 1985.

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