A magistrate and lead investigator of the Farmakonisi disaster, have ruled that the screening of a news investigative show could jeopardize the judicial investigation.
A few days ago, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists placed Greece far from the top countries concerning the freedom of the press. Just one day later, an investigator from the Public prosecutor's office ordered a Greek TV channel not to screen a news show about the recent Farmakonisi tragedy, in which 12 migrants lost their lives at sea.
Antigone Stamoleka, magistrate of the island of Kos and leading investigator of the Farmakonisi disaster, has ruled that the screening of the news variety show “Protagonists” could jeopardize the judicial investigation and the secrecy of the inquisition.
Show presenter Stavros Theodorakis revealed that his prerecorded show contains exclusive testimonials and images that could help in resolving the case. He accused the magistrate of asking witnesses not to talk to journalists.
The case involves the discovery of a fishing boat full of immigrants illegally trying to enter the country from Turkey, by a coast guard vessel. While trying to navigate the boat through rough waters in the Aegean, twelve migrants mysteriously fell in the sea and lost their lives.
There's been speculation and accusations from survivors that the coast guard's handling of the situation led to the deaths. Theodorakis and his crew visited the island of Farmakonisi where the migrants ended up after their ordeal and interviewed eye witnesses and officials. The show was being edited when the magistrate's gag order came through.
The international press picked up the story from the Associated Press almost as soon as it broke. It appeared first in the English edition of Zaman, the Turkish newspaper. The Washington Post, CBS and ABC followed suit. Mega Channel, on the other hand, officially announced they would screen the show as planned, disregarding the gag order. Presenter Theodorakis stated that as far as he knows, there was never a need for a judicial license for an investigative report.