On January 19, DW journalist Thomas Jacobi was beaten for minutes by right-wing extremists during a demonstration in Athens.
Jacobi was filming a demonstration in the central Syntagma Square when he noticed a group of about ten men breaking away from the crowd and approaching him. When they asked if he was Thomas Jacobi, he answered in the affirmative, upon which the perpetrators started to beat him immediately.
Jacobi said he was finally rescued by four other journalists. He managed to save the camera with pictures of the perpetrators but his mobile phones were destroyed and his recording device stolen.
Jacobi has since been discharged from hospital and has filed a criminal complaint. He must however attend follow-up medical check-ups in the following days. Jacobi told DW that he is doing well, apart from a black eye, abrasions on his nose and headaches.
Thomas Jacobi works for DW’s French-language editorial department, among other media. On Sunday he was not working in Greece on behalf of the German foreign broadcaster. In 2016, Jacobi made the documentary "Golden Dawn, a personal affair" about the Greek right-wing extremist party "Chrysi Avgi" (Golden Dawn). He is currently working on a sequel. Jacobi assumes he was attacked in Athens because members of the party recognized him.
"I will not be intimidated," said Jacobi, adding that "it is important to show that you are present. And I am not the one to blame because I went to the demonstration. It is those who attacked me who are to blame."
"We are dismayed and must acknowledge with horror that journalists are increasingly exposed to violence and threats," said DW Editor-in-Chief Ines Pohl. "Although the rule of law guarantees the protection of journalists and prosecutes violence legally as recently in the case of Jan Kuciak, we note with regret that we are also increasingly experiencing a culture of intolerance in the EU."
"Freedom of opinion must not be restricted, and at DW we are actively committed to this," said Pohl.