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Orthodox Church notifies television stations and newspaper that they will need approval before filming or photographing monasteries and churches

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is a press release by the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an IPI affiliate:

IPI/SEEMO expresses concern about the exclusion of certain media by the Orthodox Church in the Republic of Macedonia / Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

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 deeply concerned about efforts by the Orthodox Church in the Republic of Macedonia / Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to prevent certain media from properly carrying out their work.

According to information before SEEMO, TV Alfa, TV Sitel and the newspaper Vecer have received a notification stating that, as of January 2009, they will need the approval of the Orthodox Church before being allowed to film or take photographs of monasteries and churches, whereas their colleagues from other media did not receive such an notification. Previously, the Orthodox Church stated that they were unhappy with the reporting of the three media in the past. TV Alfa, TV Sitel and Vecer said their reporters in no way interfered with the staff of the churches and monasteries and that they were only carrying out their work.

Commenting on the move by the Orthodox Church, Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General, said, "It is essential that reporters are able to work in an open environment as the media play an important role in a democratic society. After all, the media provide information that is in the public interest and the Orthodox Church should set a good example instead of interfering with that right."

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