Freedom of Expression in Greece: Basic Condition of Democracy

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Freedom of expression, freedom of speech. Those two rights, sometimes used synonymously, mean the freedom of someone to be able to share his ideas and thoughts, speak freely without any kind of censorship. Those two rights are considered to be the most fundamental in a free democratically world. People of modern and civilized countries are familiar with these terms. But what were the origins of them?

Twenty four centuries ago, in Greece a great man and philosopher called Aristotle spoke about this. For him it seemed that human beings are, above everything else, political and social beings. They are destined to live in organized societies and nature has a plan, regarding the fact that, God gave gave only to humans the ability of speech and not to animals. Therefore, speech was given in means of expressing what is right and what is wrong, the righteousness of things and the unrighteousness of them. In the ancient society of Greece, legislation of freedom of speech and freedom of expression expression did not really exist, basically by the fact that this was not actually necessary. The right to express your opinion was, according to Aristotelis a significant element of the state, that was consisted by free citizens, a basic condition of democracy and one of the most fundamental rights for every citizen.

It is true that in ancient Greek society people of Athens enjoyed more than anything their right to freedom of speech.Free speech-what was then called “parrisia”(in Greek:παρρησία) was much taken as granted as breathing it’self. Terms such as “isonomy”(greek:ισονομία), .“isocraty”, (greek:ισοκρατία)“isogory”(greek:ισηγορία) were the basic elements of Athenean democracy. This meant that every citizen had the same right against the law, and by Aristotelis, true freedom existed when every citizen had the right to participate in the practice of power as well as obey to her orders. Other great men of ancient Greek history spoke about this as well. Platonas, Thoukididis stated the significance of freedom of speech, the fact that it is not only a right but also an obligation for every citizen. Isiodos though, will condemn “parrisia” as a means of human oppression on behalf of the weak people from the nobles. Tragedy and Comedy threw Aristofanis, that will appear and flourish those years, will be based on those rights. In every aspect of Greek society those rights will exist, although it is true not for everyone. Still it is the same society of freedom and democracy that will trial a great philosopher in 399 B.C. Socrates will face the sentence of forcing to drink “konion” a poisonous drink that will lead him to death, fon no other reason , but for expressing his thoughts. His religious ideas and political associations were regarded as harmful and the ideal of freedo of speech was actually set aside, cause of the insecurity of the Atheneans.

“The death of Socrates drinking conium”
So it is in that case that we find a kind of controversy. Even in a place where the rights of freedom of expression and speech existed in such extent , still there was a kind of fragility in them. It makes us even now wonder. Are we sure that freedom of thought, freedom of expression truly existed or trully exists? And how much has it changed threw the course of Greek History? On my attempt to answer these questions I will display a historical evolution of them, focusing specifically in the time period of Junta in Greece (1967-1974).,where we have the most dramatic suspension of freedom of thought,expression, speech, basically every freedom and right of the Greek citizen.

Freedom of the press and freedom of speech in pro-revolutionary Greece. During the second half of the millennium, human kind has experienced events that changed the course of human history. It is in that time that important political,economical,cultural and social changes had...
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