GREECE: SEEMO Condemns Greek Border Police for Banning Entrance to Albanian Journalist

GREECE, 22/08/2012

On 19 August 2012, Marin Mema, a reporter with Albanian Top Chanel TV was heading to Greece on a private visit when Greek border police denied him entry to the country, recalling a report of his on Greece a year earlier, Mema explained to SEEMO. He was handed a piece of paper on which he was allegedly described as a threat to national security and therefore persona non grata, he said.

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), calls on the Greek authorities to explain why they have impeded Mema’s entry to the country. “Reporters should be allowed to travel both as private citizens and as information professionals,” said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. “The border police appear to have violated several international standards by impeding the journalist’s free movement. Press freedom cannot stop at countries’ borders.”

In an interview with the regional website Balkan Insight, Mema linked the ban to a TV report he did on the Cham population of ethnic Albanians who were expelled from northern Greece during World War Two.  

A year earlier, as SEEMO reported, on 16 August 2011, the Skopje-based journalists, Goran Momirovski of Kanal 5 television and Milena Gjorgjievska, a journalist with the daily Vest, accompanied a group of senior citizens from the Republic of Macedonia/Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, who were trying to obtain their birth certificates in Florina, northwestern Greece. These citizens, born in Greece, live in the Republic of Macedonia/Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Momirovski told SEEMO that he was filming the people who were trying to obtain their documents and did not film any public buildings. Gjorgjievska did not film anything. They were detained in the street and held for two hours while police reviewed the filmed material in order to make sure no public buildings were filmed.

On 11 November 2011, Momiroski reported to SEEMO that he was denied entrance to Greece, while on a private trip. The police allegedly argued that the reporter was a threat to national security.

“Greece is a European Union country,” Vujovic said. “These actions of the Greek border police have to be investigated and explained. International organisations like the Council of Europe or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should also look into these practices.”

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