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Greece7 June 2005

Macedonian TV journalists refused accreditation to film in northern Greece

Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today at the refusal of the Greek authorities on 2 June to issue accreditation to three Macedonian journalists working for the television station A1 (based in the Macedonian capital of Skopje) who wanted to travel to northern Greece to meet with members of the region’s Macedonian minority.

"A refusal by the authorities of a European Union member country to grant accreditation to foreign journalists without any official explanation and without legal grounds constitutes an obstruction to the free movement of journalists and a press freedom violation," the organisation said.

"This behaviour by the Greek authorities could set a dangerous precedent and could encourage other countries to screen visa and accreditation requests from foreign journalists according to the subjects they want to cover," Reporters Without Borders added.

Goran Momirofski and two other A1 staff members filed visa requests at the Greek embassy in Skopje on 30 May. They said they wanted to meet members of a the Rainbow Party (a small political party that represents the Macedonian community living in northern Greece) and the Greek section of the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages (EBLUL). They were granted visas but not permission to film and conduct interviews on Greek territory.

The refusal of Greek government in Athens to recognize the existence of a Slavic-language Macedonian minority on its territory has been a source of tension in relations with Skopje since the start of the 1990s.




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