Εδώ ένα άρθρο από το CMA για το brand image της Ελλάδας ως δημοκρατικής χώρας που κινδυνεύει από τη σύληψη Βαξεβάνη (!).
The recent arrest by the Greek government of journalist Costas Vaxevanis, who published in his bi-monthly magazine Hoc Doc a secret list of 2,059 people with Swiss bank accounts, was a shocking infringement of the freedom of speech in a democratic country. He is currently facing a retrial over alleged data privacy breaches barely two weeks after he was acquitted. With Greece’s dire economic situation, the public should have a right to know why these affluent Greek citizens, some of whom are financial and political elites of the nation, were able to get away when the Greek Parliament was just about to debate more austerity measures. As The Globe and Mail has pointed out, the Supreme Court of Canada has said, “Freedom of speech protects listeners and readers, not just writers and speakers.”
The bone of contention is whether these people with the secret Swiss accounts have paid taxes as required by Greek law on money deposited in these accounts. Greece is losing an estimated 19 billion euros a year through tax evasion. The Greek public plus the country’s three biggest creditors – the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission – certainly have the right to know why the Greek government is protecting these tax evaders.
As Mr. Vaxevanis, in defence of himself, said, “Journalism means publishing something that others are trying to hide. Everything else is public relations.” While he might have exaggerated a bit when saying this, he certainly has a point if the so-called “Lagarde List” proves to be valid. According to the journalist who has become an international media star, Greece is governed by a corrupt elite group who covers one another’s backs.
It remains to be seen whether Greece is more interested in chasing tax evaders or silencing the media, but the country has so far failed to force the wealthy to share some of the pain of the debt crisis. If what Mr. Vaxevanis claims is true, then democratic Greece is no different from countries like communist China where public relations is synonymous with propaganda.
Greece’s brand reputation is at stake here, not just in its financial well-being, but in upholding the freedom of speech and in treating ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ equally.
Κι εδώ η αλιενοαπάντηση, που (ακόμη;) δεν έχει αναρτηθεί.
The writer has fallen into the trap of assuming all names on that list ‘got away’, which is proof that Vaxevanis was ethically wrong and therefore –since fortunately the legal in this case agrees with the ethical- arrested rightly.
It’s perfectly legal to have a Swiss bank account. Many Greeks live or have lived and worked in Switzerland. One woman on this list had transferred money so that her daughter could have an eye operation. Switzerland is a renowned place for eye and skin operations. Transferring money to Swiss accounts from Greece is also perfectly legal, if certain required procedures are followed. On the other hand, it is perfectly ILLEGAL to publish private information such as possession of bank accounts. I have no doubt in my mind that many of the names on that list are indeed guilty of tax evasion. But even assuming ALL of the names are guilty, isn’t it customary IN A DEMOCRACY to try suspects before a court of law before you pronounce them guilty?
You think the arrest of a journalist tarnishes Greece’s brand image as Democratic, without actually bothering to investigate what this journalist was arrested FOR.
In my view, pointing fingers, casting aspersions, publicly shaming and condemning people who have not been tried and proved guilty, is more discordant with the democratic image this ‘brand’ would wish to project than the arrest of somebody for simply breaking the law.
Δίνω μία στις τόσες να έχει κάποιο πρόβλημα η καταχώρηση των σχολίων και να έγινε λάθος στο data transferring. Και μία στις χίλιες τόσες να μην έχει γίνει ακόμα ανάγνωση και έγκριση από το διαχειριστή.
Σε κάθε περίπτωση, δε θέλω ν’ αφήνω εκκρεμότητες.
Ω ναι είναι αλήθεια, όπως γράφει στο σχόλιο ο Λύκος, ο Βαξεβάνης προτάθηκε και για διεθνές βραβείο! Δε μου κάνει έκπληξη.
Τριάντα χρόνια τους παίρναμε τα λεφτά με το ψέμα, κι εξακολουθούμε να το κάνουμε, μόνο τα τελευταία 2-3 χρόνια τους εξαπατήσαμε, τους κουρέψαμε, συνεχίζουμε να τους παραμυθιάζουμε ότι θα μεταρρυθμιστούμε, δε θα πείθαμε τους κουτόφραγκους ότι η λίστα είχε μόνο ύποπτους για φοροδιαφυγή (index) ή ακόμα χειρότερα, μόνο φοροφυγάδες (CMA);
Νατιρελμάν όμως τους έστειλα γράμμα. Όχι ότι θα κάνει καμιά διαφορά δηλαδή, αλλά για το καθήκον.
So you have fallen into the trap of assuming all names on that list are “suspected tax evaders”, which is proof that Vaxevanis was ethically wrong and therefore –since fortunately the legal in this case agrees with the ethical- arrested rightly.
Since these awards are supposed to be about journalism, did you do your own journalistic duty and actually bother to investigate what this journalist was arrested FOR, or did you just believe the hype?
Let’s take a look at the flip side, shall we?
First of all, THIS LIST IS A LIST OF PEOPLE HAVING BANK ACCOUNTS IN A PARTICULAR SWISS BANK. Not a list of suspects, but simply a list of clients at that bank. This is a basic fact that you ought to have gotten straight, before anything else.
It’s perfectly legal to have a Swiss bank account. Many Greeks live or have lived and worked in Switzerland. I know a few, who praise the Lord they closed their account before they were repatriated or still keep their payroll account in a different bank. One woman on this list had transferred money so that her daughter could have an eye operation – many people go to Switzerland for eye or skin surgery. Transferring your savings to Swiss accounts from Greece purely for investment reasons is also perfectly legal, if certain required procedures are followed. On the other hand, it is perfectly ILLEGAL to publish private information such as possession of bank accounts. I have no doubt in my mind that many of the names on that list are indeed guilty of tax evasion. But even assuming ALL of the names are guilty – a statistical impossibility, but nevertheless let’s do so for the sake of argument- isn’t it customary IN A DEMOCRACY to investigate people before you pronounce them suspects and try them before a court of law before you pronounce them guilty?
Of course, Vaxevanis was careful in printing a disclaimer, but this nomination is proof positive that it didn’t catch – all people on this list, whose Privacy Rights are supposed to be protected by Law, are already being branded as suspects in safely tucked away countries such as yours, and as thieves in Greece. Greece is a place where hatred and tensions at this moment run extremely high. Vaxevanis knew that, and yet had no qualms about pointing fingers, casting aspersions and publicly shaming and condemning people who have not been tried and proved guilty by a Court of Law.
No qualms about – to put it plainly – breaking a law VALID IN ALL DEMOCRATIC COUNTRIES, including yours.
So as it is, as Vaxevanis will be sipping champagne and nibbling on canapés at your reception in March, smugly basking in his nomination’s glow, back home hundreds of perfectly innocent people will be living in shame and fear.
But as they say: One man’s Freedom of Expression is another’s Violation of Privacy Rights.