Greek blog aggregator admin arrested

By EDRi · November 8, 2006

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

Antonis Tsipropoulos, the administrator of a Greek blog aggregation
website,, had his house raided, his hard drive seized and was
himself arrested by the Greek cybercrime division, after having been served
with a libel lawsuit without prior notice, because a public figure was
offended by a satirical blog that was linked to by his site. The outraged
response by Greek bloggers was immediate and unprecedented, reaching in the
hundreds of posts within two days of the raid.

It was later revealed that the arrest and seizure had taken place 5
months prior to the revelation, but Mr. Tsipropoulos had chosen to
withhold the incident. The story however received wide coverage in local
media, as well as international attention, since it’s disclosure
coincided with the First Internet Governance Forum being hosted in
Athens last week, that was attended by Internet luminaries,
entrepreneurs and activists like Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn and Joi Ito and
featuring panels on Openness and Freedom of Expression.

The IGF Openness session in particular dealt at length with the
implications of the arrest, with whether blogs should be regulated and
the larger question of free speech on the Internet. Chairing the session
was Greek Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros
Roussopoulos, who, when asked about the case, denied any knowledge of
the incident. The Minister then went on to declaim against “bloggers who
spread lies through television”, giving rise to yet another hue and cry
among greek bloggers.

Despite the successful campaign to break out the story to the media
ahead of the IGF, Greek bloggers have largely been intimidated from the
combined effect of the aggregator’s arrest and the Minister’s
statements, and many fear that political blogging might lead to
persecution as their status under Greek law is non-existent.

Prior successes of the Greek cybercrime division include the arrest of
Swedish programmer Rick Downes on charges of spreading spam via
handshake. Greece also made international headlines four years ago
because of the shortsighted and highly controversial electronic games
ban, that ended with the government being forced by public outcry, both
at home and abroad – as well as the intervention of the European
Commission – to amend the law and later suspend and deprecate it as

On a related note, Amnesty International recently put out a “Call to
Bloggers”, to stand up for Internet freedom ahead of the IGF, while its
representatives to the Forum presented special advisor to UN
Secretary-General on internet governance, Nitin Desai, with a petition
calling on governments to stop the unwarranted restriction of freedom of
expression on the internet, and on companies to stop helping them do
it”, backed by 50,000 online signatures.

A representative of Reporters without Frontiers (RSF) also attended the
meeting to accuse leading IT companies of assisting the Chinese government’s
efforts to curtail free speech in the country. RSF recently published its
5th Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index, which ranks Greece 32nd among 168
places, leading other EU15 members such as France and Italy, as well as the
US, but lagging behind such countries as Namibia, Bolivia and Bosnia –

Greek Blog Agregator

Greek blogger arrest infuriates world (30.10.2006)

U.N. blasts Cisco, others on China cooperation (31.10.2006)

Blogging in the free speech world (31.10.2006)

“Call to Bloggers” to stand up for freedom ahead of world meeting on future
of Internet (27.10.2006)

North Korea, Turkmenistan, Eritrea the worst violators of press freedom –
Press Freedom Index 2006

Greek Blogs on the case (only in Greek)

(Contribution by Asteris Masouras – )