Greece 🇬🇷, officially the Hellenic Republic, is a European country which practices Orthodox Christianity (though Christmas Day is still observed on December 25 of the Gregorian calendar by the Greek Orthodox Church). It is a member of the European Union.

Censorship was pervasive during the Regime of the Colonels (known also as the Greek junta) led by Georgios Papadopoulos between 1967 and 1974.

Greece was ranked 107th in Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index in 2023, which is the lowest ranking in the European Union.

General censorship[]


During the Regime of the Colonels, the Communist Party of Greece was banned. Anything deemed left-wing or a sign of modern decadence was banned. This included labor unions, union freedom, going on strike, breaking glasses in Russian style, the peace symbol, Trotskyism, Jean Lurçat's works, The Beatles, rock music, "new math", miniskirts, sociology, learning Russian and Bulgarian languages, asking "who is it?", the order of lawyers and long hair on men. Unbelievably, even the letter "Z", which was used as a symbol of murdered resistance leader Grigoris Lambrakis (zi meaning "he lives").


The 14th article of the Greek Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech, of expression and of the press for all but with certain restrictions or exceptions; for example although it generally forbids any preemptive or after the fact censorship, it allows public prosecutors (Greek: εισαγγελείς, Eisangeleís) to order a confiscation of press (or other) publications (after having been published, not before) when the latter:

  • 14.3.a: insult Christianity or any other known (Greek: γνωστή, Gností) religion,
  • 14.3.b: insult the President of Greece,
  • 14.3.c: disclose information related to the Greek Armed Forces or to various aspects of Greek National Security,
    • have as a purpose the forceful overturning of the Greek System of Government (Greek: βίαιη ανατροπή του πολιτεύματος, Víaii anatropí tou politévmatos),
  • 14.3.d: clearly (Greek: ολοφάνερα, Olofánera) offend public decency, in the cases defined by Greek Law (Greek: στις περιπτώσεις που ορίζει ο νόμος,Stis periptóseis pou orízei o nómos).

Book censorship[]

Between 1967 and 1974, any work written by Jean-Paul Sartre, Louis Aragon, Anton Chekhov, Mark Twain, Eugène Ionesco, Leo Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky, Harold Pinter, Edward Albee, Samuel Beckett, Fedor Dostoevsky, and even classic playwrights like Sophocles, Aristophanes and Aeschylus. Even writing about Socrates' homosexuality was forbidden for a while. Even the International encyclopedia was banned back then.

  • Aristophanes' play Lysistrata holds the dubious distinction of being banned twice, in 1942 by the Nazi occupiers and again from 1967 to 1974 by the Greek military dictatorship. The reason for this is evident: the story is about a woman ending the Peloponnesian War by organising a protest movement. That fact that said protest was a sex strike probably didn't help.

Internet censorship[]

Greece practices some internet censorship, including the blocking of websites that offer unauthorised online gambling.

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. Independent media are active and express a wide variety of views. Individuals can criticise the government publicly or privately without reprisal, and the government does not impede criticism. However, the law provides for prosecution of individuals who "intentionally incite others to actions that could provoke discrimination, hatred, or violence against persons or groups of persons on the basis of their race or ethnic origin or who express ideas insulting to persons or to groups of persons because of their race or ethnic origin." In practice the government has never invoked these provisions. The law permits any prosecutor to order the seizure of publications that insult the president, offend any religion, contain obscenity, advocate for the violent overthrow of the political system, or disclose military secrets. The law provides criminal penalties for defamation, however, in most criminal defamation cases, authorities released defendants on bail pending trial and they served no time in jail. The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence. However, NGOs such as the Greek Helsinki Monitor report that authorities do not always respect these provisions in practice.

On 28 October 2012 police arrested a Greek journalist, Kostas Vaxevanis, for violating personal privacy laws for publishing the "Lagarde List" of more than 2,000 alleged Greek tax evaders with Swiss bank accounts. On November 1, a court acquitted him; prosecutors appealed the verdict, and a re-trial date was pending at the end of 2012. In the 2013 re-trial, he was acquitted again.

In September 2012 the cyber-crime police arrested a 27-year-old man, F. Loizos, charging him with "malicious blasphemy and insulting religion". The man reportedly created a Facebook page under the name "Elder Pastitsios" that played on the name of a legendary Mount Athos monk famous for his prophecies about Greece and Orthodox Christianity, and the name of a popular Greek dish. The cyber-crime police seized the man’s laptop and removed the Facebook page. On January 16, 2014, he was found guilty of "repeatedly insulting religion" and was sentenced to ten months in jail, suspended while the prosecutor had recommended a smaller sentence. In the 2017 re-trial, however, the court acquitted Loizos.

On 6 August 2009, the most-visited Greek blog (troktiko.blogspot.com) was shut down. Although Google cites potential violations of the terms of use, comments implying other reasons behind the closure of the Troktiko blog were published in several leading Greek blogs. The blog went back on-line a few months later and suspended its activities in July 2010, after the assassination of Sokratis Giolias, its administrator.

On 29 June 2009, Georgios Sanidas, the soon-to-be-retired Prosecutor of the Greek Supreme Court (Areios Pagos), declared that "Internet-based communications are not covered by current privacy laws" and are thus open to surveillance by the police. Such surveillance would be, according to Sanidas's mandate, completely legal. Following this proclamation, Greek bloggers, legal experts and notable personalities from the media have claimed that Sanidas's mandate contravenes both the Greek constitution and current EU laws regarding the privacy of Internet communications. Furthermore, this mandate has been greatly criticised as being a first step towards full censorship of all Internet content.

Movie censorship[]

  • Golfo - this 1914 silent film was banned for its royalist sentiments.
  • Costa-Gavras' film Z - this political thriller based on the assassination of an outspokenly pacifist, left-wing politician, was predictably banned under the military dictatorship.

Television censorship[]

  • ALF (1986 TV series) - sometimes either there's inappropriate reference, alcohol scenes or sometimes when characters taking a shower after taking a robe off are blurred.

Video game censorship[]

  • On 29 July 2002, The Greek government passed a law ostensibly meant to ban gambling machines in public places. Which caused two 2 problems, however; firstly, the law's definition was written so broadly that it applied to any electronic game. Plus, after concerns that establishments would just hide their slot machines in a secret room to get around the ban, it was made to apply in private places as well (although the government said they would only only enforce the public ban). The law was partially repealed after complaints, although games are still banned from internet cafes.

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