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A reporter for Albania’s Top Channel TV, Marin Mema, was denied entry to Greece on Sunday after border guards deemed him a threat to national security.
|Top-Channel TV reporter Marin Mema|
“The border guard told me that I cannot enter in Greece because I am listed as dangerous person and as persona non grata,” Mema told Balkan Insight.
“I was listed as a threat to Greece’s national security,” he added.
Mema, who was travelling to Greece with two friends for a short vacation, is only the latest in a number of Albanian citizens who have been denied entry into Greece for apparently political reasons.
In April two judges from Korca, who had convicted a Greek minority leader for desecrating Albanian graves, were also denied entry into Greece as a threat to national security.
Mema, who had traveled to Greece on reporting trips before, linked his ban to his critical TV reports on the fate of the Cham population, ethnic Albanians who were expelled from northern Greece during World War Two.
Mema recalled that while filming in the old Cham villages in northern Greece he was harassed by Greek security agents.
“We were followed all the time while we were filming,” Mema said. “Two cars with officers in plains clothes watched our every step all the way back to the Albanian border,” he added.
The Greek Foreign ministry was not reachable for a comment on Monday.
Although bilateral political relations are good, Greece's reluctance to recognise the expulsion of the Chams from Greece is still an open wound that often creates tension between Tirana and Athens.
Elderly Albanian citizens born in Greece, and who have this information on their passports, have also regularly been denied entry into Greece.
While the EU accession process has not affected the media’s existential struggle for survival one way or the other, they have made respect for human and minority rights more mainstream.