Dimitris Rapidis

With reference to the recent accusation of Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis being charged for breaching privacy after publishing names from an alleged list of HSBC Bank, I am really wondering what are the limits of investigative journalism, what is the standpoint of the political system, and what is the role of justice.

Kostas Vaxevanis is a well-respected journalist that all the way through his career was insistingly focusing on unveiling reportages that mainstream media were putting below the carpet. Whether the subject was dealing with politics, scandals, social reportage, and so on Kostas Vaxevanis was coping with what the public was not clearly aware of. Two days ago he published the so-called “Langarde List” through his magazine HOT DOC, which is allegedly filled with names of Greeks that are tax-evading and have sheltered considerable amounts outside Greece to Swiss banking institutions. The list was subjected to further investigation, as many Greek politicians, including all the previous Greek Ministers of Finance of the 2010-12 period, are allegedly accused for hiding the list from justice and covering all tax-evadors from bringing them into court. Kostas Vaxevanis decided to bring light in this case by publishing the list, a gesture that nobody did until now, even if there are constant rumours that the list is wandering between Ministers and journalist offices.

With the unveiling of the list Kostas Vaxevanis was brought into justice and in the days to come he will be judged for breaching of privacy. Meanwhile, there is no prosecution of any Minister and official involved in the hiding of the list during these two years. Therefore, we have three issues that stir up the debate:

1. Is the decision of the journalist endorsed by the public in a time that it is brought into justice for breaching privacy, while two years now there were rumours that all Ministers of Finance were aware of it but did nothing to impel prosecution?

2. Why Greek justice is selectively reacting without being similarly sensitive to issues of wide tax evasion and illicit wealth? Why investigative journalism is directly condemned while tax fraud is stalled amongst decisions, processes, and bureaucracy?

3. How public is expected to believe in politics when politicians being allegedly accused for purposed disguising are not brought into justice? Similarly, what are the real reflexes of justice and how an observer can follow them in a coherent way?

After all, it is really puzzling sometimes to distinguish between genuine and partial intentions. But what is left as an aftermath is an increasing feeling of distrust and suspiciousness. And this in not good.

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