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French magazine suspected of 'censorship' by Greek voluntary health clinic

Le Nouvel Observateur withdraws invitation to Dr Yiorgos Vichas to speak at 'Go for Democracy' conference

After initially telling Dr Yiorgos Vichas that a conference on 'Go for Democracy' would benefit from hearing his views on the Greek public health system, Le Nouvel Observateur subsequently informed him that he couldn't speak at the conference due to changes in the agenda

A pediatrician examines a girl inside the Metropolitan Community Clinic of Elliniko (Photo: Reuters) A pediatrician examines a girl inside the Metropolitan Community Clinic of Elliniko (Photo: Reuters) A French news magazine has come under fire for inviting the head of the country's largest voluntary health clinic offering medical care to the uninsured only to subsequently inform him that he couldn't be included in the programme.

Earlier this month, Le Nouvel Observateur wrote to the Metropolitan Community Clinic of Elliniko, asking its founder to take part in a conference it was holding in Athens on "Go for Democracy", on February 6-7 at the Megaron Mousikis (Athens Concert Hall).

The weekly news magazine said that Dr Yiorgos Vichas' "views on the public health system would prove valuable information to the meeting".

"With great pleasure, we accepted the invitation as it would have been an opportunity to reveal our data and what we experience daily at the clinic resulting from criminal policies implemented in the public health system, in the face of those who are chiefly responsible – the Greek government and officials from the EU and the troika," the centre said.

Vichas' name was listed as a speaker in a January 21 report in Kathimerini, which is a media sponsor for the conference, and was included on a poster for the event sent to the centre by Le Nouvel Observateur.

According to the same poster, the high-level conference is also due to be addressed by Prime Minster Antonis Samaras, Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, former European Commission president Jacques Delors, as well as Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the German government's special envoy to Greece, Hans-Joachim Fuchtel.

But in a short message sent on Tuesday, the French magazine informed the centre that Vichas could not take part as the "agenda" had changed, resulting in smaller panels.

The centre suspects 'censorship' The centre suspects 'censorship' The centre said that while it does not know what led to this decision, "everyone can draw their own conclusions". A mock poster for the event, sent out with a press release from the centre, is overprinted with the word "censorship". 

"What we do know is that with this exclusion [of our representative], truths that must be heard will not be heard about the murder of uninsured citizens as a result of the memorandum [austerity] policies carried out by the Greek government for almost four years".

The centre vowed to step up its efforts to provide healthcare to insured citizens, who it says now number 3m people.

Since it was set up in December 2011, the clinic has had more than 15,000 visits from people denied access to free state healthcare, like the longterm unemployed and the impoverished.

The clinic refuses cash gifts and corporate support but accepts donations of medicines.


Metropolitan Community Clinic in Elliniko

Opening hours

Dr Yiorgos Vichas' name is circled on this poster for the event (Photo: Metropolitan Community Clinic in Elliniko) Dr Yiorgos Vichas' name is circled on this poster for the event (Photo: Metropolitan Community Clinic in Elliniko) Monday-Friday: 10am-8pm
Saturday: 10am to 2pm

Tel: +30-210-963-1950

Email: mkiellinikou@gmail.com
mki-ellinikou.blogspot.gr (Greek)
mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr (English)

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