The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is alarmed at recent restrictions on reporters’ ability to freely carry out their work in Greece.
According to information before SEEMO, four journalists from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia/Republic of Macedonia, Goran Momiroski of A1 TV, Meri Jordanovska of Nova Makedonija newspaper, and two other crew members of A1 TV, were arrested in the afternoon of 13 October 2008 by Greek authorities. The journalists had intended to cover a protest against a disputed army training site and gunfire exercises by the Greek Army in the village of Lofi, near the Greek-Macedonian border.
Despite carrying valid press cards and visas for Greece, the media representatives were detained because they did not have a special filming license and requested to hand over the material they had gathered at the demonstration. After their release, a police escort strongly advised them not to talk to eye witnesses of the protest and eventually escorted them to the border.
SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic voiced his concern over this “clear infringement of the free movement and freedom of expression of journalists” and hoped “the Greek authorities will adopt strong measures against such interference with media efforts to report on a story of public interest.”