Dutch journalist Ingeborga Boygel, who posed a provocative question to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during a press conference, left Greece for reasons related to her own security.
Boygel became the target of a smear campaign in the media and social networks, as well as received threats and was even wounded by a stone. The Dutch Embassy in Athens and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs reportedly advised her to leave the country.
Incredible footage of the Greek PM shouting at a Dutch journalist, after she said he lied over refugee pushbacks.
He’s not used to tough questions from the local media. Greece only beats Hungary on press freedom in the EU.
A sad sight for all of us who care about our republic. pic.twitter.com/FPmDDqzHDI
– Manos Moschopoulos (@maledictus) November 9, 2021
Boygel was targeted after she asked Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte about the detention of migrants in the Aegean Sea.
The Greek prime minister became angry and, after a short time, several mainstream media outlets began digging into the present tense and past of the “rude Dutch journalist,” as she was most politely called.
Sad that press freedom continues declining in both my countries (US & Greece), especially Greece, w / its relatively recent history of authoritarianism, which we remember today, on the anniversary of the deadly Nov17,1973 uprising against the country’s most recent dictatorship. https://t.co/Ddaufw5Cqw
– Nick Barnets (@NickBarnets) November 17, 2021
Speaking to the Dutch media NLTimesBoygel said that after the interview went viral last week, she was attacked by a man when she walked into the store wearing the same red hat. According to her, the man called her “Turkish spy” and “asshole” and threw a stone at her. She added that she does not enjoy protection from the Greek authorities.
On the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Embassy in Athens, Boygel decided to leave Greece as soon as possible, and the Dutch Association of Journalists is helping the correspondent, who has lived in Greece for the past 40 years.
Speaking at a Greek news site news247Boigel said her living conditions became very difficult after the incident with the prime minister.
She also noted that she would like to return to Greece someday.
Boygel’s return to Holland was confirmed by Xandra Schütte, editor-in-chief of De Groene Amsterdammer, with whom Boygel worked. In her article, Schütte wrote that she was “shocked!”
According to Schütte, people now recognize Boygel because of her images, which continue to circulate on social and mainstream media. “She’s not safe when she goes outside. A stone was thrown at her, ”Schütte said, stressing that“ Boygel’s safety is now the most important ”.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Dutch journalist association NVJ condemned the threats against the Dutch journalist.
#Greece: IPI is appalled that #Dutch journalist @IBeugel has been driven out of the country after facing threats, insults & even a physical attack. She was targeted in a malicious smear campaign & branded a Turkish propaganda agent after questioning the PM about illegal pushbacks pic.twitter.com/kPn5ehODqv
– IPI-The Global Network for Independent Journalism (@globalfreemedia) November 17, 2021
“Over the past few days, Beugel has faced serious online threats and physical attacks in Athens,” the union said. He called on the Greek authorities to guarantee its safety and bring persecutors and perpetrators of violence to justice. “
The union stressed that “during the press conference, Boygel was simply doing her job as a critical journalist and therefore the Greek government must intercede for her now that she is being threatened in an aggressive and intimidating manner because of her journalistic work.”
– Ingeborg Beugel (@IBeugel) November 17, 2021
This is not Turkey – this is Greece
The international media rights organization Reporters Without Borders and the Global Network of Independent Journalism condemn the persecution and threats that led Boygel to fled Greece.