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    Police Violence and Impunity in Greece

    The Manifold joins forces with Solomon.

    Fanis Kollias/Solomon

    Public opinion in Greece is reeling at the news of a young man killed by the police on Saturday, October 23, during a high-speed chase that ended with motorised police firing a hail of bullets at his car. Information thus far indicates that the man was unarmed, which not only raises questions about the choices made by officers during the incident, but also suggests similarities with a key case that was decided by the European Court of Human Rights in 2004. In that case, the Court has found that Greece had failed both to protect the victim’s right to life from excessive force by its law enforcement officers, and to conduct an adequate investigation. The victim, who in that case ultimately survived, was awarded compensation. 

    This key case is one of a number that have been under enhanced supervision by the Council of Europe for the use of potentially lethal force and ill-treatment by law enforcement agents as well as the lack of effective investigations capable of leading to adequate disciplinary and criminal sanctions. 

    In September, the Committee of Ministers of the CoE decided to terminate supervision of all but three of these cases, giving particular weight to the promise by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis that police violence will be addressed. The promise was made in Parliament last March, following wide-spread, public police violence in the Athens suburb of Nea Smyrni.

    Saturday’s incident, as well as others that we have been documenting, do not appear to support that the Prime Minister’s promise is being translated to concrete measures that will counter police violence. We believe that police violence and impunity is a chronic and systemic problem that severely undermines the quality of Greek democracy. What is more, we have evidence that despite the Prime Minister’s contentions, police abuses of their legally prescribed powers have been increasing during the term of the present government. 

    As we’ve shared with you in previous newsletters, we are working on an in-depth investigation of this issue, drawing on years of experience by some of our members in covering police brutality. The investigation will appear as File 02 in The Manifold Files. 

    We are now very happy to announce that this project will form part of a collaboration with Solomon, a Greek non-profit media collective that uses media for social inclusion and aims to promote independent media in the country. Founded in Athens in 2016, Solomon has produced exceptional, in-depth stories on the violations of rights suffered by refugees and migrants, and was nominated for the European Press Prize 2021. As they are widening their scope to include further issues of accountability and transparency linked to those in power, we are proud to join forces with them and plan to also work on stand-alone, joint stories that will appear in Solomon. 

    Read our first story (in Greek, to be available in English shortly) > >

    The Project is realised with support from a grant by the Open Society Foundations. The grant is managed by Solomon in Greece.

    Greek Energy

    A new investigation into the energy sector

    Trans Adriatic Pipeline, Piping inlet at the cooling towers of the Kipoi compressor station, October 2019

    Trans Adriatic Pipeline, Piping inlet at the cooling towers of the Kipoi compressor station, October 2019

    Photo: TAP AG

    We are very happy to announce a collaboration between The Manifold and SourceMaterial, a UK-based, non profit investigative journalism outfit. Following up on The Manifold’s 2019 investigation into the politics of lignite-fuelled electricity production, this new project will investigate current developments in the Greek energy sector and examine what they signify for EU climate policy and other transnational issues. 

    Founded in 2017, the SourceMaterial team uses in-depth journalism to uncover stories that hold the powerful to account. Its publication partners have included NBCThe TimesThe GuardianThe ObserverThe IndependentVice World NewsopenDemocracy and the BBC programmes NewsnightFile on 4 and Spotlight.

    The project is already underway. We are planning a series of stories, and for the Greek language versions we are partnering up once more with Inside Story, an independent outlet specialising in long-form investigative and explanatory journalism. Although Inside Story posts some of its content subscription-free on social media, it does rely on members’ subscriptions to maintain its independence. So, if you are a Greek speaker, please consider subscribing here or forward this to anyone you know who might be interested.

    Our first story in this series should appear by the end of the month or thereabouts. We’ll keep you posted.


    The next chapter

    When we were designing The Manifold Files prototype, we only had the resources to build it in one language. We chose to build it in English, because it made it easier for us to broaden the pool of initial interested readers, whose feedback we asked for and found most valuable. It also helped with communicating our work to a wider audience. But next to these advantages, there was one major drawback: in-depth journalism is naturally of most concern to people who somehow feel close to the issue under investigation, and quite often they will find it difficult to engage, if the story is not in their native language. Not all, but many. 

    So, we are fixing this. Beginning with our next File, the platform will also have a Greek language capability. While we are on that, we’ll also upgrade a few other things, like the File homepage that many of you have pointed out is not all that great.

    We are very happy that for this upgrade, we will once again be working with Thinking, an Athens-based team of designers, information architects and developers, who research innovative approaches to digital reading. They are the ones who designed The Manifold Files prototype and we feel great about going on to the next chapter with them.

    We expect to have the platform ready around December, so you’ll be reading more about it till then.

    Police violence and impunity in Greece

    Let us tell you a few words about our new investigation…

    Police violence and impunity is a chronic problem, systematically underreported in the media, that severely undermines the quality of Greek democracy. Some members of The Manifold have been researching it for over ten years. They have reported that in dozens of incidents, including murder and torture by police officers, perpetrators were either exonerated or received extremely lenient punishment both in internal disciplinary inquests and in the criminal courts.

    But, let’s be honest, while it is underreported, police violence is not exactly a secret — especially for the authorities themselves. Stories such as this one, written by our members Mariniki Alevizopoulou and Augustine Zenakos three years ago, have shocked people, but things have not changed. We don’t claim to have a complete strategy — much less a solution — to counter the failure of the political leadership and the judiciary to address the issue. So, what do we plan to do?

    As with other critical social issues, we believe that for many people the gravity of the problem is lost in a news cycle that, when it is not subservient to political affiliations and therefore purposefully hushes things up, prioritises speed over depth. We will make two things in one: first, we’ll pull all significant evidence on police violence and impunity into a resource of stories, case studies, interviews and relevant documents; then, we’ll turn this resource into a monitor, following up on every case of police violence and publishing all developments as they unfold.

    We have already drafted our research and publication strategy for this project, which also involves a collaboration with some esteemed colleagues.

    We’ll tell you more soon!

    The Covid-19 crisis highlights Greece’s media problem

    Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, wearing a protective mask, visits the General Hospital 'Sotiria' in Athens, Greece, 06 April 2020.

    Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, wearing a protective mask, visits the General Hospital ‘Sotiria’ in Athens, Greece, 06 April 2020.


    We wrote an analysis for the International Press Institute website, entitled The Covid-19 crisis highlights Greece’s media problem, where we explain how the highly partisan way in which funds were distributed by the Greek government during the pandemic, reveals that freedom of the press is in a dire state in the country.

    Read the article here.

    Children Under Lockdown

    A live investigation into child abuse and neglect
    in the era of Covid-19

    July 16 – 23, 2020

    The Covid-19 lockdown was challenging for everyone. What did it mean, however, for children faced with abuse or neglect? In Greece, where the child protection system is disjointed, understaffed and disorganised, how did the lockdown affect children who were forced to not have contact with anyone else apart from their abusers? How did State services respond during such a trying period? After the lockdown ended, were any measures put in place to assess and alleviate the consequences for vulnerable children? What is the plan, in case an increase in Covid-19 cases forces a new lockdown?

    We are seeking answers to these questions through five interviews with child protection experts that will be streamed live on The Manifold Facebook Page.

    Children Under Lockdown is a live journalism project. Online, live interviews offer an opportunity for audience members to participate in the process of gathering evidence through submitting their own questions. 

    If you want to submit a question, you can do so in the following ways:

    • At any point before an interview, by email to, or by message on Messenger.
    • During the streaming of each interview, by comment under the Facebook live video post.

    The interviews will be in Greek. After all five are completed, the videos will be subtitled in English, and — together with additional research — added as a major update to File 01: The Children and the State.


    • Interview #1 • Thursday 16/7, 19.00
      Theoni Koufonikolakou
      Childrens’ Ombudswoman
    • Interview #2 • Friday 17/7, 19.30
      Antonis Rellas
      Film director; Disabled activist, Emancipation Movement for the Disabled “Zero Tolerance”
    • Interview #3 • Monday 20/7, 19.30
      Giorgos Nikolaidis 
      Psychiatrist; Chairman, Bureau of Lanzarote Committee, Council of Europe; Director, Mental Health and Social Welfare Department, Institute of Child Health 
    • Interview #4 • Wednesday 22/7, 19.30
      Triantafyllia Athanasiou
      President, Association of Social Workers of Greece
    • Interview #5 • Thursday 23/7, 19.30
      Stefanos Alevizos
      Psychologist, The Smile of the Child NGO

    The Children Under Lockdown project is funded through a grant by the European Journalism Covid-19 Support Fund, and supported by Reporters United.

    File 01: The Children and the State is now live

    © The Manifold

    Our first File, The Children and the State, has just been published. Since July 2018, The Manifold team has been investigating the child protection system in Greece, in an effort to document its failures and probe the reasons that might explain them. We now have a sufficient amount of material, so that we can present the first iteration of the File. Now that the File is published, we will continue to update it with new developments on a regular basis. To get an overview of the first File, please read our Editorial.

    Every File in The Manifold Files, starting with the first one, is a collection of material that records the investigation of a single issue. It is made up of Stories, Actors, and Documents. Each File has two ways in which it can be read: The Unfolding Story; and the Curated Story. To find out what all this means, familiarise yourself with the way The Manifold Files website works, and get the most out of our approach to in-depth journalism, please have a look at the User’s Guide.

    More info on the File, including contributors and funders, is available in the File 01 ID. More info on The Manifold is available in the What We Do, Who We Are, Other Work.

    For monthly updates on File updates and new stories, please subscribe to The Manifold Files newsletter.

    And don’t forget: for all of us working on The Manifold Files, correspondence with our readers is essential. We will be happy to read your thoughts, ideas and comments, as well as suggestions on issues we should investigate, or tips on something specific we should look into. Here’s how to get in touch.