Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2014, 12:47 GMT

Freedom of the Press 2011 - Cyprus

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 1 September 2011
Cite as Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2011 - Cyprus, 1 September 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e5f71ae2.html [accessed 25 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status: Free
Legal Environment: 5
Political Environment: 9
Economic Environment: 8
Total Score: 22

Freedom of speech and expression are guaranteed under Article 19 of the constitution. These rights are generally respected on the Greek part of Cyprus, where the independent press is vibrant and frequently criticizes authorities. The Press Law of 1989 ensures freedom of the press through guaranteeing the circulation of newspapers, the right to not reveal sources, and access to official information. Because there is not a formal press council, journalists must use self regulation to deal with "complaints or noncompliance with journalistic standards."

While there are some press freedom laws on the Turkish side of the island, authorities are hostile to the independent press, and journalists can be arrested, put on trial, and sentenced under the "unjust actions" section of the criminal code. Although Turkish Cypriots can legally enter the south, journalists based in the north are often denied access at the border and are occasionally harassed by border guards and nationalist groups. The Turkish-controlled zone has its own press and broadcasters, and news outlets in general mirror the island's political division.

In the past, the Northern Cyprus government has frequently targeted independent newspapers. However, in January 2010, the chief executive officer of Dias Media Group was murdered in the southern capital, Nicosia. The alleged motive for the killing was revenge and a struggle to control Sigma TV, a member of one of the largest Cypriot media groups. The trial, after several delays, was ongoing at the end of the year.

Cypriots have access to Greek and Turkish broadcasts throughout the island. There are 7 daily newspapers and 31 weekly newspapers. There are also several monthly and other occasional publications; however, many daily newspapers are closely linked to political parties. In Northern Cyprus, there are several daily newspapers available, although mainland Turkish papers are generally preferred. The internet is not subject to any known government restrictions, and 53 percent of the population accessed the internet in 2010.

[The numerical rating for Cyprus is based on conditions on the Greek side of the island]

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