George Karaivaz, a Greek, crime journalist was assassinated outside his home in Athens yesterday.
The “veteran journalist” who worked for Star TV was shot multiple times in broad daylight by two individuals. The assassination took place just after 2pm.
Police said that two men approached Karaivaz as he was returning to his home in the suburb of Alimos. The passenger open fired and shot him several times. Some 12 shell casings were retrieved from the scene.
An investigation has been launched and police have said it appears to be a “professional hit.”
As well as his work with Star TV, Karaivaz was renowned for his work on crime and law enforcement. He had also founded a news website called Bloko which focussed on police-related investigations.
His assassination was widely condemned by members of the media community.
Maria Antoniadou, the head of the journalists union ESIEA, said: “Whoever thinks that, in this way, they can silence journalists – there are another 6,099 who will investigate and demand to know what has happened.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement whereby Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna said “Authorities must determine whether Karaivaz was targeted for his work and should do everything possible to find the killers and bring them to justice.
Dunja Mijatovic, the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe tweeted that his murder was a “tragic reminder that journalism is a dangerous profession in Europe.” She called on the authorities to urgently investigate and hold those responsible accountable.
Vera Jourova, the European Unions Vice-President for Values and Transparency expressed her deep shock and said that “justice should be served and the safety of journalists guaranteed.”
This is the fifth murder of a journalist in the EU in the last four years.
Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated with a car bomb just metres from her home on 16 October 2017. Charges have been filed against some of those involved in commissioning and executing the murder, but many believe there are still others who need to be held accountable. The investigation into her assassination went right to the top of Maltese politics, revealing links between politicians, businessmen, and organized crime.
In Febrary 2018, Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiance Martina Kusnirova were assassinated in their home in Vel’ka Maca. The murders sparked widespread protests and a political crisis resulting in the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico and his entire cabinet. Businessman Marian Kocner was accused of ordering the hit and tasking Alena Zsuzsova with hiring the hitmen. They were acquitted of any involvement but this was appealed by the prosecution. The outcome is pending in the Supreme Court.
Another businessman Zoltan Andrusko then admitted to ordering the murder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Former soldier, Miroslav Marcek, and his cousin Tomas Szabo were sentenced to 25 years in prison for carrying out the hit.
On 6 October 2018, Bulgarian TV host and journalist Victoria Marinova was raped and murdered in Ruse. She was the host of an investigative show called Detector and was following a story on alleged fraud linked to EU funds, businessmen, and politicians. Another episode that was due to be aired, covered the Hitrino train accident which killed seven and injured 29 others. Her colleagues said that the people behind both scandals were the same.
21-year-old man, Severin Krasimrov was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison. The prosecutors claimed her murder was not related to her work.
Then on 18 April 2019, Lyra McKee a journalist, author, and editor focussing on The Troubles in Northern Ireland was shot during a riot in Derry. Violence broke out in the area following police raids on “dissidents” in the hopes of seizing weapons ahead of Easter parades set to take place that week. Rioters threw petrol bombs and set fire on cars. A gunman then open-fired on police, hitting McKee in the head.
In February 2020, four men were arrested and a 52-year-old was charged with her murder.