Greece: Prominent journalist shot dead by bike-borne assassins in Athens

A prominent Greek journalist has been shot dead near his home in the capital, Athens, in a rare crime targeting a member of the media that shocked colleagues.

Giorgos Karaivaz, who specialised in crime reporting and worked for private station Star TV, was returning home from work when he was ambushed by two individuals on a motorbike shortly after 2pm on Friday.

Preliminary reports said the perpetrators used a weapon with a silencer as they fired multiple rounds. Seventeen bullet casings were collected from the scene in Alimos, a southern Athens suburb, according to reports.

“I tried to park my car where he lay. I thought someone had fainted. He was lying face down … blood was flowing onto the sidewalk,” a woman who lives in the neighbourhood told reporters.

The police have launched a manhunt for the unidentified assailants. There were no immediate reports of a possible motive, however, police said the murder was clearly carefully planned.

The Media Freedom Rapid Response, a project which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in Europe, said it was “horrified by this killing, which from current information appears to bear all the signs of a targeted assassination”.

It added: “Regardless of the motive, the killing of Giorgos Karaivaz is a tragic event for the journalistic community in Greece and a dark day for media freedom in the European Union.”

Killings of journalists are rare in Greece.

In 2010, radio manager, blogger and investigative journalist Socratis Giolias was also shot dead outside his home in Athens.