Nikolaos Mihaloliakos
Leader of extreme-right Golden Dawn party Nikolaos Michaloliakos addresses media in Athens (Reuters) Reuters

The Greek journalists' union has hit back at the far-right Golden Dawn party, whose aides ordered reporters to stand or leave at a press conference in Athens.

The Greek Federation of Journalists warned that they will not tolerate further intimidation by the neo-Nazi party, which obtained 7 percent of the vote at parliamentary elections.

A video published on YouTube showed muscular supporters of Golden Dawn urging journalists to rise from their seats as a sign of respect for party leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos. Those who refused were expelled from the room.

"The Greek Federation of Journalists warns Hitler nostalgics [sic] and especially the 'brave boys in black T-shirts' that no journalist will be coerced, threatened or above all terrorised," the union said.

Threats to journalists are not new to the party. Greek journalist Xenia Kounalaki recently wrote an article about Golden Dawn in the German weekly Der Spiegel, which provoked an immediate an attack on the party's website.

"It was a 2,500-word-long personal attack," she related to the Guardian. "[They] recounted my entire career, mocked my alleged foreign roots (I was born in Hamburg) and even, for no apparent reason, mentioned my 13-year-old daughter."

"The unnamed authors indirectly threatened me as well, 'To put it in the mother tongue of foreign Xenia: "Kommt Zeit, kommt Rat, kommt Attentat!"' In other words, watch your back."

The Athens Union of Journalists has long condemned some media organisations for keeping silent over the neo-Nazi threat to Greece.

"Acting like bouncers, they showed their true colours," the union said. "We are not afraid of you. We will reveal your role. You will not have your way."

'Greeks despise media'

During the press conference, Michaloliakos launched a tirade against the media, which he accused of defamation.

"I would like to thank the hundreds of thousands of Greeks who voted for the popular nationalistic movement Golden Dawn, who turned their backs on the defamation by TV channels and the yellow press," he said.

"They were against us all this time. They accused us in the worst possible way. On their TVs they showed only people who didn't receive half of the votes we got. They despised the Greek people and the Greek people despised them."

Michaloliakos rejected any affiliation with Nazism, even though the party's emblem, a squared spiral, and its colours closely resemble the swastika.

He also made a Hitler-style salute when elected in 2010 to Athens city council.

Michaloliakos lashed out at corrupt politicians, who "betrayed" the country.

"They slandered us, slung mud at us and shut us out of all the news media - the TV channels of the corrupt elite - and we beat them," the 55-year-old leader said after the vote.

"The day of national revolution by the Greeks has begun against those who are selling us out and looting the sweat of the Greek people."

The party's main policy is to get rid of all illegal immigrants. "No one should fear me if they are a good Greek citizen. If they are traitors - I don't know," Michaloliakos said.

Golden Dawn appealed to nationalist sentiment rising in the country after the austerity measures demanded by the European Union and the IMF helped plunge Greece into further economic turmoil.

Oliver Vujovic, secretary-general of the South East Europe Media Organisation, expressed concern about Golden Dawn threatening journalists.

"I am very worried by these developments. All political parties have to respect democratic principles and press freedom," he said. "However, in one month, the Golden Dawn party threatened one journalist and obliged reporters to stand to salute the party leader or leave the press conference.

"I hope that these incidents will be isolated cases and that the Golden Dawn leaders will respect democratic principles," he added.