Freedom of the Press - Cyprus (2006)
|Publication Date||27 April 2006|
|Cite as||Freedom House, Freedom of the Press - Cyprus (2006), 27 April 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/473451b44e.html [accessed 23 April 2014]|
Legal Environment: 5
Political Influences: 9
Economic Pressures: 8
Total Score: 22
Life Expectancy: 77
Religious Groups: Greek Orthodox (78 percent), Muslim (18 percent), other (4 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Greek (77 percent), Turkish (18 percent), other (5 percent)
Freedom of the press is generally respected in law and practice in the Greek part of Cyprus, where the independent press is vibrant and frequently criticizes authorities. However, media came under extralegal intimidation in 2005, when violent exchanges erupted between journalists and police during a truckers' strike in July. The incident escalated when police turned on television crews to prevent coverage of the event; the Cyprus Media Complaints Commission accused the police of using excessive force in the arrest of a cameraman connected with the incident. Although Turkish Cypriot journalists can enter the south, Turkish journalists based in the North are often denied entry across the border. Also in July, all Turkish national journalists from the North were refused entry to cover a football match between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot teams. However, Turkish Cypriot journalists were able to cover the match since they are not subject to the same restrictions.
Cypriots have access to Greek and Turkish broadcasts. There are seven major dailies, one weekly newspaper, and six major magazines. However, most daily newspapers belong to or are linked to political parties or other groups. A few private television and radio stations compete effectively with government-controlled stations, but only the state broadcaster has sufficient funds to produce its own programming. Ownership is highly concentrated. Over 300,000 Cypriots are able to access the internet on a regular basis and are not subject to any known government restrictions on internet use.
In the North, laws are in place for freedom of the press, but authorities are overtly hostile to the independent press. Several local daily newspapers are available, but the broadcasting service is controlled exclusively by the Turkish Cypriot administration. Independent newspapers, in particular the outspoken daily Afrika, have frequently been targeted by the government, and cases brought by the government against Afrika are ongoing; however, no new cases of intimidation were reported in 2005.
[The numerical rating for Cyprus is based on conditions on the Greek side of the island.]