The International Press Institute (IPI) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), strongly condemn the murder of Sokratis Giolias, director of the radio station Thema 98.9 FM and administrator of the most popular social and political Greek blog, “Troktiko.”

According to information received by SEEMO, during the early morning of 19 July 2010, an unidentified man rang the doorbell at Giolias’s home and informed him that someone was attempting to steal his car. Giolias went outside to the building entrance where he had parked his car and it was then he was shot several times. Giolias’s body was riddled with bullets and he died on the spot. Three alleged perpetrators fled the scene and remain at large.

Authorities are investigating the murder, and no motive has been suggested as yet. However, speaking to Reuters, Panos Sobolos, president of the Athens journalists’ union said, “Somebody wanted to silence a very good investigative reporter who had stepped on a lot of toes with his stories.”

This is the first murder of a journalist in Greece in well over two decades, although other forms of harassment of the media are not uncommon.

Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General said, “First and foremost, our condolences go out to Giolias’s family, friends and colleagues for their tragic loss. This is another black day for journalism and, moreover, journalists as such.”

Vujovic added that he was alarmed about the dreadful crime and that, “It is very important to find the person or persons responsible for this killing of a media owner as soon as possible. SEEMO asks the Greek authorities and police to do everything they can to solve the case and to bring to justice those who planned Giolias’s killing and SEEMO therefore welcomes a full police investigation.”

“We are deeply alarmed by this brutal murder, and call for a full investigation into whether Giolias’ murder was connected to his work,” said IPI Director David Dadge. “The perpetrators must be found and brought to justice. As a European Union country,Greece must demonstrate that this kind of violence will not be tolerated in a democratic society.”