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James T. Farrell

Farrell Protests Greek Press Gag

(January 1948)

Readers of Labor Action Take the Floor ..., Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 2, 12 January 1948, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The following letter has been sent by James T. Farrell to the Greek Ambassador.

Mr. Basil Denramis
Greek Ambassador to U.S.
Greek Embassy
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

As an American writer who has long been seriously concerned with defending and advancing the principles of freedom of the press, I request that you transmit my letter to your government.

It has been brought to my attention that under a new law passed by the Sophculis-Tsaldaris Government on October 18, freedom of the press has been dangerously and seriously restricted in Greece. I have been told that this decree prohibits the publication of newspapers and magazines and imposes severe penalties upon papers which are even slightly critical of governmental policy. The staffs of such publications are subject to arrest and court martial with possible death sentences. Facilities used in connection with the publication of any such newspapers can be confiscated.

If a publication must meet the strict requirements of a Press Ministry, then freedom of the press is not even a mockery. My information is that this law is primarily directed against opposition newspapers, particularly working class ones. I have been given to understand that The Workers Struggle, organ of the Internationalist Communist Party (Trotskyist) had been prohibited from publication. Also, the publications of the Communist Party have been suppressed. I do not necessarily agree with political views expressed in these, or in other suppressed papers. However, I wish to protest this action on principle. Any and all governments which cannot or dare not permit freedom of expression can only be characterized as tyrannical. Any and all governments or individuals who in the year 1947 contribute to the suppression of freedom of speech and freedom of the press are contributing toward turning the entire universe into a dungeon, into a torture chamber. I am firmly convinced of the truth of these statements, and I take the liberty of asking that your government repeal its arbitrary press law and restore freedom of publication to all papers in Greece.

James T. Farrell

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