NTUA shuts down Athens Indymedia, cites government pressure

athens.indymedia.org screenshot

The Athens Indymedia website previously located at https://athens.indymedia.org has been shut down by the Greek government according to tweets by ruling party MP Adonis Georgiadis, seen here congratulating minister of Public Order Nikos Dendias. Update 4/14/2013 It appears that the action was actually initiated by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)-where Athens Indymedia was being hosted. However, details are still unclear. See last two updates at the bottom of the post after the jump for more information.

Instructions on accessing Athens Indymedia via Tor are available in Greek at the site’s alternate address at http://indymedia.squat.gr/ as well as info on a planned protest tomorrow at the University of Athens. The twitter hashtag to follow updates is #free_indymedia

Update 16:45 PM EDT According to Greek independent journalist site “ΚΑΤΑΛΗΨΗ ΕΣΗΕΑ” the authorities achieved this by blocking internet access to the servers of Athens Indymedia as well as the 98 FM radio station. No official announcement has been issued yet.

Update 10:00 PM EDT Athens Indymedia has released an update on their alternate address in Greek where they state that in addition to the Indymedia site, two of their radio stations have also been shut down in particular 98FM and Entasi FM as of afternoon local time of Thursday April 11. They also confirm that internet service was interrupted by the government after “prosecutorial pressure”.

This follows an earlier announcement (English version | Greek version) by Entasi FM on Thursday where they claimed that the SKAI radio station had pressed charges over a dispute about the frequency they were broadcasting on. In a related early afternoon April 11 post on the Greek blog “pitsirikos”, Entasi FM states that the police had issued them an ultimatum to stop broadcasting from their studios at the University of Athens National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) campus within three days or face legal consequences. Both radio stations as well as the website are housed there.

Update 4/12/13 9:20 PM EDT Greek newspaper Ta Nea is reporting that unnamed sources at the Ministry of Public Order are denying any official involvement in the closure. There has not been any official government, police, or school announcement by as of yet.

According to a Greek post on Athens Indymedia (accessible via the Tor link) written after today’s protest at the NTUA campus, attendees where notified that the University authorities advised that Athens Indymedia, 98FM, and Entasi FM refused to comply with a policy stating that each University internet connection must have a named user associated with it. After refusing to provide them with the names of the site’s administrator(s), University staff then proceeded to unplug the network sockets.

The post also mentions that the University Rector’s Office advised that there is “probably” a court order to shut down 98FM and Entasi FM and that they claim to have acted under threat of a raid by the prosecutor and the police.

An indication that what would seem to support this scenario is that the NTUA Rector’s Office also features a link to a Greek article in today’s edition of To Vima newspaper about the Greek Prosecutor’s office’s new enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy on occupations of educational institutions. This marks a shift from the previous way that University asylum laws have been interpreted by Greek prosecutors where raids have generally been a last resort.

ntua link

Note: In light of the above new info, I am removing the previous post title which read “BREAKING: Greek government shuts down Indymedia” to reflect the latest information that the action was apparently taken by NTUA.

Update 4/14/2013 While Athens Indymedia continues to operate via Tor at http://gutneffntqonah7l.onion.to/, the site’s homepage is now accessible once again via their established URL at https://athens.indymedia.org.

The Athens Indymedia team is now confirming via separate announcements in Greek here and here that the order to close the site came from the NTUA Rector Simos Simopoulos. However, they insist that Simopoulos was acting on orders from the Ministry of Public Order and that the lawsuit by SKAI radio station was used as a pretense.

-Follow me on twitter @SimonKnowz