The rejection of the US visa application for MEP Stelios Kouloglou, while he was a member of an official European Parliament delegation to visit the US, was the subject of the French newspaper Humanite.
"The Motive? His documentaries on American politics were not liked in Washington," Humanite writes in her report, according to a statement by the Greek MEP.
"From 2010, I had found myself on a blacklist," explains Stelios Kouloglou. The MEP, as the newspaper writes," is not only a member of the European Parliament but also a journalist and director who for many years worked forGreek public television ERT. During the decade of 2000-2010, he became known for his reports and documentaries from around the world that appeared in the weekly program Reporters Without Borders on ERT, some of which were directly critical of American politics.
Stelios Kouloglou, Humanite continues, "refers specifically to a 2004 documentary "24 + 1 Lies to Sell a War," which denounced the Bush administration's propaganda to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Also, he referred to another film entitled "Confession of an Economic Assassin," which won two international awards and was screened in New York and Los Angeles.
During this time, the US Embassy in Athens protested to the Greek government, "that intervened on the board of ERT to say that Stelios Kouloglou's reports have caused difficulties in the talks of the then prime minister, Costas Simitis, with the US. In 2008, the situation escalated at a meeting of the board of directors of public television. "A month later, I was fired," says the MEP," the newspaper writes.
"He had to wait for many years to learn the real reasons for his dismissal, but from 2010 onwards his visa application to travel to the US has been rejected. Numerous organizations' remonstrations, such as Reporters Without Borders, were to no avail. The Greek journalist was even refused a tourist visa. "I was hoping that my election to the European Parliament would change the situation," he adds. But that was not the case," says Humanite.
Last July, invited as a MEP to attend the People's Summit in Chicago, Stelios Kouloglou filed a new visa application, but the US Embassy once again did not answer. Just a few days ago, he was going to travel officially as a member of the European Parliament delegation that would have meetings with US officials. But again he was banned from entering American soil.
"When asked to explain, this time on requests from the European institutions, the US government, just last Monday, informed the MEP and the European Parliament of the reasons "terrorism"," Humanite writes.
"So I finally learned that I am suspected of being a hijacker and that I support terrorist organizations!" Explains Stelios Kouloglou, denying, while smiling, the preposterous accusations of the US government, as the French newspaper reports.
"I have made dozens of documentaries against terrorism," adds the MEP. "His latest film,"Dying from Laughter", presented last month in the European Parliament and screened at a Strasbourg cinema, in the presence of the Ambassador of Greece, is dedicated to the memory of Charlie Hebdo's editorial team, violently assassinated by terrorists. The film, sometimes comical and sometimes tragic, talks about how humor can lead to death for journalists," the French daily says, and closes:
"It also shows that the absence of humor, as well as political censorship can prevent a journalist, even an MEP, from entering the Land odf the Free."