Nine international press freedom organizations have issued a joint statement demanding that Grigoris Dimitriadis, the former general secretary and nephew of Greek Prime Minister, drop the two cases he has filed against Greek investigative journalists and media organizations for their coverage of his involvement in Greece’s spyware scandal, characterizing the cases as Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP).

The organizations consider the cases “a vexatious effort to muzzle investigative reporting on Dimitriadis’ links to the Greek spyware scandal.”

Dimitriadis filed a claim on August 2022 and seeking compensation from: newspaper EFSYN in the amount of 250,000 euros, online investigative portal Reporters United and their reporters Nikolas Leontopoulos and Thodoris Chondrogiannos in the amount of 150,000 euros, and freelance journalist Thanasis Koukakis in the amount of 150,000 euros, according to the announcement.  Dimitriadis also wants Koukakis, who was himself targeted by spyware, to take down his sharing of the investigation by Reporters United from his social media accounts.

The statement details, “The defamation lawsuit was filed on the day Dimitriadis resigned from his position as the general secretary of Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, his uncle. The previous day, EFSYN and Reporters United made revelations about Dimitriadis’ connection to the surveillance scandal at a time when he oversaw the National Intelligence Agency.

On June 3, another joint report had provided evidence Dimitriadis was connected to a network of business people and companies linked directly or indirectly with businessman Felix Bitzios, former deputy administrator and shareholder of the spyware firm Intellexa, which at the time marketed the Predator spyware, which was revealed to have been used by unconfirmed actors to surveil multiple high-profile political and media figures.”

The International Press Institute says that Dimitriadis filed a second suit on 24 November 2023 in the amount of 3.3 million euros to some of the same plaintiffs but also broadened the case to include executives of EFSYN and Alter Ego Media.

The nine international press organizations that signed the joint statement include: the International Press Institute (IPI), ARTICLE 19 Europe (A19), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), OBCTranseuropa (OBCT), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO).