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Moldovan journalists urge authorities to abandon bans on foreign journalists

The move comes after the Moldovan border police sent back Russian TV host Irada Zeinalova and Ukrainian journalist Roman Shutov

CHISINAU, January 17. /TASS/. Moldovan journalist associations have urged the authorities to abandon the practice of banning representatives of foreign media, says a statement published on Wednesday following the decision of the Moldovan border police to send back Russian TV host Irada Zeinalova and Ukrainian journalist Roman Shutov.

"We urge the authorities to abandon prohibitive and selective measures targeting the media and let the journalists perform their professional duties without hindrance," the document said. It was signed by the Association of Independent Press, Independent Journalism Center, Investigative Journalism Center, Association of Electronic Press, Committee for Freedom of the Press, Association of Independent TV Journalists and other non-governmental organizations.

They reminded the authorities that international organizations have repeatedly pointed to the violation foreign journalists’ rights in Moldova.

"Back in 2016, an OSCE representative on freedom of the media urged the Moldovan authorities to review the use of restrictive measures and let all journalists do their job freely," the document said.

Zeinalova, the host of "Weekly Roundup" on the NTV channel, was stopped at the Moldovan capital’s airport for passport control procedures on Tuesday afternoon and later was sent back to Moscow. The TV presenter was banned from entering the country as she had not mentioned the purpose of her visit, Moldova’s border police spokesperson Raisa Novitski told TASS on Wednesday. Zeinalova, who had arrived from Istanbul, said she was scheduled to have meetings with officials, but could not confirm the plans by any documents, Novitski said.

Alongside her, the entry was also refused to Ukrainian journalist Roman Shutov, who intended to deliver training on issues of fight against propaganda, and who maintained that he had received an invitation from the US Embassy in Chisinau.

Earlier, Moldova’s authorities had banned entry for Russian performers, political scientists, public figures and journalists from NTV, REN TV, Life News and other media outlets. Russia’s Foreign Ministry handed a note of protest to Moldova’s Ambassador to Moscow Andrei Neguta over the entry bans.