Journalists Apparently Being Investigated for “Denigration of Greek National Symbols”

Another charge appears to be defamation — as best I can tell, of the country of Greece generally. From Spiegel Online:

It was supposed to be a provocative piece of journalism and a tongue-in-cheek comment on German concerns about a European Union bailout for debt-ridden Greece. But the Feb. 22, 2010 cover of the weekly German newsmagazine Focus — which showed the goddess Aphrodite making an obscene gesture [giving people the finger] — caused outrage in Greece….

Now six Greek citizens who felt particularly offended are taking legal action against the journalists involved, including Helmut Markwort, the magazine’s founder who was also editor in chief of Focus at the time of publication.
According to reports in the Wednesday editions of the German newspapers Handelsblatt and Tagesspiegel, Markwort and nine other Focus employees are due to appear in an Athens court on June 29. The newspapers reported that public prosecutor Ourania Stathea is looking into accusations of defamation, libel and the denigration of Greek national symbols….

The story, titled “Swindlers in the Euro Family,” included a detailed description of what the authors claimed was “2000 years of decline” in Greece, including reports of tax fraud and failed construction projects….

I can’t speak with any confidence about the likelihood that the case will go further, but it struck me as worth noting. If anyone has more information on how seriously the prosecutor is apparently considering the case, please post it in the comments. Thanks to Prof. Bill Poser for the pointer.