Sotiris Bletsas, President of the Aromanian Cultural Society and a leading Vlach activist in Greece, has won his lawsuit against Dimitris Rizos, owner of the nationalist right-wing daily newspaper “Adesmeftos Typos” (Independent Press).
The court decided that the terms “pro-Skopjan” and “little agent”, that the newspaper used to describe Mr. Bletsas and his actions to improve the status of the Vlach-speaking community in Greece, were both libellous and insulting.
Rizos must now pay 10,000 euro in compensation, while the newspaper will publish a statement of apology in the same place where the controversial article was placed.
“I don’t consider this as a victory or anything similar”, Bletsas told Eurolang shortly after the court’s verdict. “Let’s only hope that these decisions will at last prevent these so-called journalists from slandering and constantly demonizing people from minorities in Greece”, he concluded.
Mr Bletsas, who is a well known figure amongst lesser-used language activists from across Europe, has been engaged in continuous litigation since 1995. Then he was arrested simply for distributing EBLUL leaflets written in the 6 lesser-used languages of Greece (Vlach, Macedonian, Turkish, Pomak, Arvanite and Romani).
At first, he was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment but since his acquittal by the Appeal Court, he has gone on to win all his other cases against the Member of the Parliament who initially sued him and several newspapers.
He now plans another lawsuit - “I sincerely hope it will be the last”, he says - against famous TV-personality Makis Triantafyllopoulos, who recently claimed on his show on the Alter Channel that Bletsas and people like him are paid from abroad to create trouble and destabilize Greece. (Eurolang 2007)