Monthly Archives: June 2012

New Media Forum, Wednesday 27 June, European Parliament

We wish we could be there.

On Wednesday 27 June the New Media Forum will be held in the Plenary Chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels. The event website is clear that this will definitely not be “yet another conference on the media”. It aims to offer “a unique forum to discuss opportunities and risks for media pluralism resulting from new media”, and share recent developments in the field, pulling together different strands of discussions that are currently taking place at EU level.

Just some of the questions to be addressed are the following:

– Does the new media contribute to, or undermine, a pluralistic public sphere?
– Do new technologies overcome bottlenecks related to traditional media or do they create new information gatekeepers?
– Should existing media ownership regulations for traditional media be relaxed, or extended to new media?
– How have industries, such as music, books and film, faced the challenges presented by the new media?
– Is there a need for diversity obligations on online on-demand media and can they be imposed?
– Should the EU take an initiative in ownership regulation in this era of globalization?
– How do we assess the role of publicly funded media, specifically public service broadcasters (PSBs), but also, where relevant, subsidised press and online operations?

Community Media will be represented in these discussions, in the form of Pieter de Wit, President of the Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) and Francesco Diasio, Regional Coordinator of AMARC Europe. We will be looking forward to their feedback as well as the Forum’s final report, and hopefully to contribute to follow-up discussions.

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Opening up the Cyprus Presidency … through blogs!

This article was first published on page 6 of The Cyprus Weekly (8 June).

It’s very rare that conversations in the blogosphere make into the mainstream media so we thought that, as the auspicious date of 1 July draws ever closer, it might be worth merging media ahead of the start of the Cyprus Presidency of the European Council. Much to our surprise, in the past few weeks a call from the Permanent Representation in Brussels has been circulated amongst bloggers across Europe to organise a meeting on 12 July within the framework of the Presidency. As yet no format or agenda has been ascribed to the meeting, with the Cypriot delegation apparently looking for suggestions from bloggers themselves about how the discussion should shape up and what the relationship between government and the digital community should be.
Having surveyed the blogosphere in the last few days, we have noticed that the call has been picked up by a number of European bloggers and portals. The influential bloggingportal.eu/, a pan-European blogging platform, published a call for involvement in the meeting, while Waltzing Matilda, a blog linked to the European Commission, sees the Cyprus Presidency as a chance to build bridges. “They seek collaboration and to help connect existing networks”, is Matilda’s view. “Bloggers who like to collaborate can establish the agenda in co-creation, instead of being confronted with a fait accompli. The aim is to shape an open dialogue that reaches beyond the Brussels Bubble.”
The call however has not been picked up by many Cypriot bloggers. The Open Cyprus Europe 2012 blog, which aims to strengthen national social media conversations during the Presidency, as well as myriaswords, are some of the few calling for a more coordinated response amongst Cypriot bloggers. This suggestion has found support from blogger Ron Patz who writes on the ideasoneurope.eu/. Basing his assessment on a similar initiative during the Hungarian Presidency he says that “this event should be mainly for them. If they are political bloggers, they may learn how they can find real stories, and the presidency may be able to tell them how they can provide them with background while other European bloggers present may give hints how they interact with the Brussels sphere in order to generate stories or attention.”

This initiative on behalf of the authorities could break the mould of government communication with its citizens facilitating their participation, to the extent possible, in the decision-making process. Having organised the highly successful “Buffer-Zone Bloggers (BZB)” event in April 2011 which brought together bloggers from across the whole of Cyprus, CCMC fully supports a coordinated Cyprus response. Our message, based on the experience of BZB, is that this opportunity should be used in order to maximise the potential of social media to involve bloggers from communities marginalised from mainstream dialogue; empowering them to become active and have their voices heard during the Presidency period. In this way the potential of social media can be harnessed to its fullest extent, and actually contribute to one of the Presidency’s stated aims which is to promote social cohesion at home and abroad.

DOCYouth Camp 2-7 July – Apply by 25 June!

The U.S. Department of State and the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) in association with the International Children’s Film Festival of Cyprus (ICFFCY), the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC), Sugarfoot Films, Nicosia 2017 and the U.S. Embassy of Nicosia are pleased to offer young and emerging filmmakers based in Cyprus the opportunity to participate in DOCYouth Camp from July 2 – 7, 2012 in Nicosia.

In this week-long youth-oriented film program participants will have the opportunity to work with the renowned film theorist, Michael Renov and the award-winning director Alex Rotaru along with Cypriot filmmakers to develop documentary techniques and create their own short films. During the camp, participants will view, discuss and analyse youth-oriented documentary films from the prestigious American Film Showcase including Spellbound, Undefeated, Mad Hot Ballroom, To Be Heard, Elevate and Wo Ai Ni Mommy. The program will culminate on Saturday, July 7th with an evening screening of the work produced along with the Cyprus premiere of the award-winning Shakespeare High. The screening will be open to the public and will take place in the Buffer Zone.

Who: Cyprus-based filmmakers/cineastes (16-30 years old)
Where: Cyprus Community Media Centre

Dates: July 2 – July 7, 2012*

Application Deadline: June 25, 2012

*Each participant should submit an idea for a film, which they will present and pitch on the first day of the seminar. Four (4) films in total will be selected, developed and produced in small groups over the course of the week. The DOCYouth Camp program is intended to fully immerse participants into the world of film and build a strong network, thus we highly encourage attendees to clear their schedules and make themselves available and open to collaboration.

DOWNLOAD YOUR APPLICATION FORM HERE.

Support the Association for the Welfare of People with Mental Handicap!

The Association for the Welfare of People with Mental Handicap is organising a fundraising event on Wednesday 27 June, at 7pm, at the grounds of its day care centre in Strovolos.

Founded in July 1990 by the parents and friends of people with mental handicap, the Association has been offering care and support for adults with such severe physical and mental handicaps at two day care centres – the Favierou Centre in the heart of Nicosia close to Paphos Gate, and in Strovolos on Archbishop Kyprianou Aveue.

Having met with both Ms Mary Katsioloudi and Mr Petros Markou from the Board just recently we were touched by their dedication to making the Association a sustainable organisation that can provide for people from all walks of life, and regardless of ethnic or religious background. For more information you can contact Ms Katsiolidou at: katsiol@cytanet.com.cy.

See you there!

Talking media ethics in Birmingham

The Forum in full swing

The Journalism & Media Ethics European Media Forum got underway in Birmingham, UK yesterday, with the participation of CCMC’s very own Larry Fergeson, called up as a member of the Board of the Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE).

The Forum is part of the Council of Europe’s MARS – Media Against Racism in Sport programme, which aims at including non discrimination and the expression of diversity as an ongoing angle of media coverage, and encourage innovative production across different media.

Back in January CCMC hosted the Cyprus National Media Encounter as part of the MARS programme, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the active participation from local and international media professionals and civil society activists.

Check out the Forum on Facebook, find out what’s on here, and follow proceedings online!

CASE CLOSED. Charges dropped against Doros Polykarpou and KISA

Doros Polykarpou

“The significance of the verdict stretches beyond the acquittal of Doros Polykarpou. This is a victory for all human rights defenders in Cyprus, and sends out a clear message that KISA and other NGOs have a legitimate right to defend the rights of migrants and asylum seekers” – Anthoula Papadopoulou, KISA

“The protection of human rights is neither a discretionary matter, nor a matter of luxury, but is a necessary element of the rule of law” – Costas Gkazis, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Yesterday’s press conference at the EU House in Nicosia was as much a triumphant announcement that charges had been dropped against KISA‘s Executive Director Doros Polykarpou, as it was a relief that a process which started 18 months ago had reached a favourable conclusion. “If only we could reclaim the 6000 Euro in court expenses!”, joked Polykarpou.

Costas Gkazis speaking at yesterday’s press conference

The verdict issued by the Larnaca District Court pointed out that the prosecution had failed to prove that any criminal offense had been committed by Polykarpou in relation to the violent events which marred the celebration of diversity and multiculturalism at the Rainbow Festival in Larnaca back in November 2010. In its decision, the Court did not accept the testimony of the police officers – who were witnesses of the prosecution – pointing to inconsistencies and unreliability. Moreover, the Court found Doros Polykarpou’s testimony to be both reliable and consistent with the video recordings shown as evidence in Court.

This verdict definitely does not draw a line in the sand, but marks a new chapter in the defence of human rights in Cyprus, and of standing to racist and xenophobic behaviour. CCMC witnessed first hand the terrible events of 5 November 2010, with a number of staff suffering verbal and physical abuse at the hands of groups whose ideology has no place in modern society. The Centre will continue to steadfastly support the work of KISA and its associates in pursuit of a more just and fair treatment of vulnerable groups in our society.

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