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Macedonian journalists seeking to cover cultural event denied entry to country

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is a 21 July 2008 IPI letter to the Greek authorities:

H.E. Kostas Karamanlis
Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic
Fax: +30 210 6715340
E-mail: [email protected]

H.E. Prokopis Pavlopoulos
Minister for the Interior and Public Order
Fax: +30 210 6929764
E-mail: [email protected]

Vienna, 21 July 2008

Your Excellencies,

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), wishes to express its concern after the Greek authorities denied a group of journalists from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Republic of Macedonia) entry into the country.

According to information before SEEMO, on 19 July, journalists from TV A1, TV A2, Forum and Makedonsko sonce were on their way to report on a cultural event in northern Greece, and were bearing standard passports with regular Greek visas. However, at the border the journalists were denied entry with the explanation that they did not have the permission of the Greek government to report on the event. One journalist from Forum was denied entry although he had a journalist's visa. An offer to enter Greece as non-journalists, without their cameras and other technical equipment, was declined by the journalists. They were also told they could enter the country as journalists after the cultural event was over.

SEEMO condemns this move by the Greek authorities. Greece is a member of the European Union, and expected to uphold the right to press freedom, one of the pillars of democracy. Decisions like this prevent the ability of journalists to work freely and hinder the free flow of information. We urge Your Excellencies to do everything in your power to ensure that cases like this do not happen in the future.

Yours Sincerely,

Oliver Vujovic
SEEMO Secretary General

SEEMO is a regional network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East Europe.

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