Threatened Dutch journalist flees Greece after confrontation with Prime Minister
Shocking, is what editor-in-chief of De Groene Amsterdammer, Xandra Schutte, called what happened to the opinion weekly's correspondent Ingeborg Beugel in Greece. Beugel was in the news over the past days after the Greek prime minister reacted furiously when she asked him about alleged pushbacks, sending boats full of migrants back, during a press conference. Schutte confirms a report by NU.nl on Wednesday that Beugel is being threatened to such an extent that she will return to the Netherlands.
The Dutch journalist told NU.nl that she's not receiving protection from the Greek authorities. According to Schutte, the Dutch journalists' association NVJ is helping Beugel. On the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy, Beugel decided to leave Greece as soon as possible. She was planning to come to the Netherlands next week for administrative matters, but that has been brought forward, she said to NU.nl. She also said that she would like to return to Greece at some point.
Schutte says a smear campaign hounded Beugel. That happened on social media, but the reactions were fueled by government media, which constantly show images of the Dutch journalist in talk shows and make insinuating remarks, she said. "Very worrying," said Schutte. According to the editor-in-chief, Greece is at the very bottom in terms of press freedom in Europe, together with Hungary.
According to Schutte, people now recognize Beugel because of the images that keep circulating of her. "She's not safe when she goes out on the street. A rock was thrown at her." Her safety is most important now. "Once she is in the Netherlands, we will, of course, see what we can do."
The NVJ announced on Tuesday that it condemned the threats against the journalist. Beugel faced serious online threats and a physical attack in Athens over the past few days, the union said. It wants the Greek authorities to guarantee her safety and to prosecute the harassers and perpetrators of violence. "During the press conference, Beugel was simply doing her job as a critical journalist, and the Greek government should therefore stand up for her, now that she is getting threatened in an aggressive and intimidating way about her journalistic work."
Reporting by ANP.