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 >  Greek culture  >  Greeks go to court over Germans

Greeks angry at German insult

- by Archimedes

Greeks go to court over German insult.

Germans may be top of the list in numbers taking Greek island holidays but the German weekly magazine Focus has ended up in in a Greek court for one of its cover stories.

A satirical cover depicts the ancient Greek goddess Venus raising her finger to Europe while an article accuses recession-hit Greece of ignoring other European states.

The German magazine's publisher and 12 journalists have been charged with defamation and insulting a Greek national symbol.

None of the defendants appeared in court in Athens this week to answer charges that carry a maximum two-year sentence.

The Focus cover, which translates as 'Cheats in the European Family' displays a deformed ancient statue of Aphrodite with a torn Greek flag wrapped around here waist.

It wouldn't even raise a ripple in the British tabloids but the article provoked a storm of protest in Greece when it was first published in February 2010.

Focus is a German weekly news magazine published in Munich and distributed throughout Germany. It is the third-largest weekly news magazine in the country and considered conservative in outlook.

Focus is not alone in attacking the Greeks over the Eurozone crisIs. German press attitude has ranged from the doubtful to the downright dismissive. Bild Zeitung, the country's biggest tabloid, has revelled in stories of Greek tax dodgers and gold-plated pensions for government workers.

A angry protest letter from OEK (Federation of Greek Communities in Germany) followed the publication of two allegedly defamatory articles against Greece. They accused Focus of an attempt to 'detoxify the relations between the two nations from the poison that you shed'.

The charges have been brought by a group of Greek lawyers and the trial will resume in Athens on December 9