Friday, April 22, 2011

Insulted Greeks to sue over German magazine's bailout 'cheats' claim

April 21, 2011

Insulted Greeks are suing a German magazine over a cover story showing the Greek goddess Aphrodite sticking up her middle finger and an article which called them the "cheats in the Euro family".

Six Greek citizens are taking action against journalists working for the weekly German magazine Focus, including the magazine's then editor-in-chief and publisher, Helmut Markwort.

"Will the Greeks make off with our money?" the magazine asked on its front cover last February.

Tapping into growing German fears of a Greek bailout at the height of the financial crisis, the article depicted a country swamped in debt which had cheated its way into the eurozone.

More than a year after the article appeared, a state prosecutor in Athens is now investigating the magazine for libel and insult, according to the German newspaper, Handelsblatt.

"It was a legitimate, satirical commentary," said Markwort. In fact, he said, he was playing them at their own game. "After all, the Greeks invented satire."

But the arguments made then still ring true today, according to Markwort.

"The Greeks tricked us. Their problems haven't gone away," he said.

"Quite the opposite. The government lied, but instead of getting angry with their government, they're getting angry with us."


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