Vienna, 17 September 2016 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemned the actions of authorities in Kosovo, after two journalists working for a Russian news agency were arrested near the village of Hoçë e Madhe/Velika Hoča.
News Front agency journalists Oksana Sazonova and Sergey Belous were filming material for a documentary regarding orthodox monasteries in Kosovo on 15 September, when they were asked for their identification by police members. The journalists failed to provide documents for legal stay in Kosovo. They were then detained and transferred to Pristina, after being accused of illegally crossing the border between Serbia and Kosovo. In the meantime, their equipment was confiscated, and the recorded material was deleted.
“It is understandable to prosecute individuals that do not follow through with necessary visa and passport requirements” said Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General. “But deleting journalistic materials and seizing equipment is unnecessary and not acceptable.” Vujovic added.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.