Category Archives: Advocacy

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CCMC Editorial: Why World Press Freedom Day is important for Cyprus

3 May is marked around the world as a day of celebration of press freedom.

Since the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this date as World Press Freedom Day in 1993, it has become a day to reflect on and evaluate the state of press freedom in our own countries and around the world, as well as to remind ourselves of the need to defend journalists and media professionals from attacks on their work and independence.

In Cyprus the rights of journalists to exercise their profession freely are still not fully guaranteed. Back in February 2011, the Turkish-language Afrika newspaper – which maintains a highly critical stance of affairs in the northern part of Cyprus – and its editor-in-chief Sener Levent were threatened by an armed gunman at the newspaper’s premises. In July that year Levent’s colleague Ali Osman was also attacked at gunpoint. In fact 2011 was a particularly difficult year for Turkish Cypriot journalists. Mutlu Esendemir, the news editor of the Kanal T and a reporter for Kibris newspaper, was injured following the explosion of a bomb placed under his car, while Cenk Mutluyakali, the editor-in-chief of Yeniduzen newspaper, was also threatened.  These are the last recorded incidents of direct threats against the lives of Cypriot journalists, but they remain a chilling reminder that in our divided country threats to the freedom of the press continue to exist.

At the time of the attack on Levent his Greek Cypriot colleagues from the Union of Cyprus Journalists (UCJ) crossed the Green Line to show their support and solidarity. The UCJ has mobilised support for Levent on several occasions before the opening of the crossing-points when he was imprisoned for his and his newspaper’s writings. As welcome as this move was, it remains one of the few public gestures of good will between journalists across the divide in Cyprus. Unfortunately professional solidarity and collaboration between journalists remains politicised along the faultlines of the Cyprus Problem.

Event organised by CCMC in April 2011

Event co-organised by CCMC with the Turkish Cypriot Jounalists’ Association (April 2011)

It is clear that more needs to be done to strengthen the links between the media across the Cyprus divide. Over the last few years the UCJ has maintained sporadic contact with the Association of Turkish Cypriot Journalists, while dialogue with Basin Sen – their trade union counterpart – is limited to interaction within the frameworks established by the European Federation of Journalists, and remains tainted from past confrontations within the EFJ General Assembly.

UNESCO sees 3 May as an occasion around which initiatives can be encouraged and developed in support of press freedom. At CCMC we also believe that World Press Freedom Day offers an ideal starting point for journalists across the divide to start to build an understanding and common framework of action around shared principles and values. It is also an opportunity to sensitise all Cypriots about the need for the rights of journalists to be guaranteed, and to inform them that in Cyprus those rights will not be fully safeguarded until a just and lasting settlement is agreed, and a demilitarisation of the island takes place.

With the aim of kickstarting the dialogue to establish a framework for media collaboration in Cyprus, CCMC calls on all journalists’ organisations in Cyprus to attend the first meeting of the MEDIANE – Media in Europe for Diversity Inclusiveness programme, which will take place in Nicosia from 10-12 June, and to utilise this opportunity to build an action plan for the future.

Archana Kapoor at CCMC for event tonight!

The CCMC team is privileged to have a community media activist in our midst today – Archana Kapoor, who will be speaking at a public talk on community radio in India tonight at CCMC, 6pm. (For directions to CCMC click here.) Here’s a link to the invitation and see below for a sneak peak of the interview we are recording with Archana – look out for more soon and see you all tonight!

Archana1

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Call the youth of Cyprus! Define your own Future!

image001Call the youth of Cyprus!

Do you think that quality youth work can contribute to growth, prosperity and social inclusion of all young people?

If you are young and want to express your opinion join the public consultation, organised by the Cyprus Youth Council (@CyprusYouthCoun) to be held on Wednesday January 23 at 6pm at the Home for Cooperation.

The consultation will be carried out in preparation for the European Union Youth Conference of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU, and will be in English.

To complete the electronic questionnaire click here.

For more info you can contact Nikolas Christofi on +357-22-878316, or by email at info@cyc.org.cy.

Development in Theory, Development in Practice

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We told you they were busy!

Development seems to be all the buzz at the moment! The NGO Support Centre, in organising an open discussion on «Development in theory, Development in practice» to be held on Monday, 21 January, 18:00, at the European University of Cyprus, Room 203.

During the event two books will be presented, written within the framework of the «Knowledge Makes Change!» project.

The first book, «Development theory and Development in Practice: A Dialogue», was written by Dr. Alexander Apostolides and Mr. Stefano Moncada, and looks at the synergies emerging between, on the one hand, theoretical analysis, and the practical aspects of development on the other.

The second book is entitled «Working Together to Reach Our Goals», and was written by Mr. Marios Antoniou. The book aims at providing a basic understanding on the concept of international development, introducing the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and presenting the progress that has been made in achieving them.

Keep an eye out for more exciting development events and much, much more coming up next week!

Envisioning Education in Cyprus in the 21st Century

AHDR

CCMC member the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR), working in collaboration with the Cyprus Academic Dialogue (CAD), are organising a policy dialogue discussion on ‘Education in Cyprus in the 21st Century’ on Thursday January 24, from 18.30 – 20.30 at the Home for Cooperation.

The discussion will focus on the following issues:

·         The role of Education in Cyprus, within the current socio- political situation and its possible contribution to the efforts towards a settlement of the political problem, and

·         How education could contribute to the sustainability of a future settlement?

The discussion will be held in Greek, Turkish and English and translation will be provided.

Th event will be the first installment of an exciting initiative involving key stakeholders from the main communities in Cyprus working collectively on a public consultation driven procedure, which will lead to the production of policy recommendations on education in Cyprus. The policy paper will be formulated using all key points raised in this series of events in order to articulate a collective vision on the future of Education in Cyprus in the 21st Century. Moreover, the policy paper will include recommendations on educational policies in the two main communities in Cyprus, both within the current political (pro-settlement) environment, as well as within a post-settlement political environment (irrespective of the content and the form of this political settlement).

The initiative is based on the AHDR’s comprehensive research project, exploring history teachers’ views of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot history curricula and textbooks used across the existing divide in Cyprus, as well as history teachers’ use of methods that promote, historical thinking in their teaching.  You can download “History Educators in the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot Community in Cyprus: Perceptions, Beliefs and Practices” from the AHDR website.

For more information, please contact AHDR by e-mail ahdr.mide@gmail.com, or on the phone at +357-22-445740 or +90-548-8345740.

Open Discussion: Feminism and Development

feminism_invitationAs part of a series of events dedicated to development, CCMC member the NGO Support Centre (Twitter ngo_centre) is organising an open discussion on the topic of Feminism and Development. The event will take place on Friday 18 January at 11am at the Greek Cypriot Union of Journalists in Nicosia.

All events are organised within the framework of the «Knowledge Makes Change!» project, which aims to raise public awareness in relation to international development and development aid.

The discussion is supported by another CCMC member organisation, the Mediterranean Institute for Gender Studies (MIGS) – Twitter @MigsCy.

“Awaken the African Giant” Kapuscinski Lecture, Wednesday 16 January 2013

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For the second year running, CCMC member the Cyprus Island-Wide NGO Development Platform (CYINDEP) is hosting a Kapuscinski Development Lecture on Wednesday 16th January 2013 at 18:30, at the Home for Cooperation in Nicosia.

“Awaken the African Giant” will be the topic of a lecture by Nick Moon, a winner of several awards for bringing together the entrepreneurial spirit of the poor, innovative tools and technologies, and the power of the marketplace, developing a cost effective and sustainable way to help families lift themselves out of poverty. He is a co-founder of KickStart and is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Georgios Markopouliotis, Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus will offer a welcoming speech on behalf of the organisers, the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The event is also supported by the NGO Support Centre.

The lectures honour the name of Ryszard Kapuscinski, a Polish journalist and writer, who died in 2007. Kapuscinski, whose books were translated into many languages, was often named the “Third World Chronicler” or the “Voice of the Poor” for his famous reportages and books describing developing countries on all continents. Among other books, he was famous for: “The Emperor” on Ethiopia, “Shah of Shahs” about Iran, “The Shadow of the Sun” about Africa, “Another Day of Life” about Angola, and “Imperium” about the Soviet Union.

You can register for the event on Facebook  and you can follow the discussion on Twitter@CYINDEP @kapulectures

Alternatively you can contact Natasha Apostolidou Efthymiou at natasha.apostolidou@cyindep.eu or by phone +357-99-551699 .

Simultaneous translation will be available in Greek and Turkish.

Civil Society’s New Year’s Wish List

This article was first published on page 19 of The Cyprus Weekly (4 January 2013).

2013, dubbed by many as the most difficult year for Cyprus since 1974, is likely to be a year when the general public, and by extension civil society organisations, will increase their demands on the political leadership in light of economic austerity.

Here’s to wishing (and working) for a Happy New Year 2013!

1) Greater transparency and access to information
Writing in The Cyprus Weekly back in November, Maria Kapardis, Chairperson of Transparency Cyprus, spoke of the urgent need for greater transparency in political party funding, as highlighted in the Council of Europe’s GRECO report in 2011. In December, the presidential candidates who had put forward recommendations for fighting corruption all pulled out of an open discussion organised by Transparency Cyprus on the issue. However, going into 2013, there is a momentum generated behind a move for greater openness at the political level, and with the austerity measures likely to bite hard this year, the demand for transparency and accountability will grow. 2013 will also be a good time to implement the recommendations of the Access Info Cyprus project, which include, amongst others, adopting a law on access to public information, as well as full and proactive publication of information about the structure, policies, functioning, and budget of each public, to be presented in a way that is members of the general public can understand.

2) Protection and support for society’s vulnerable and marginalised groups
“During the economic crisis people with special needs and especially those with severe disability, face bigger problems due to their disabilities. The weight of these measures will affect people with special needs who are living on the poverty line even more.” A statement by the Cyprus Paraplegic Organisation, issued last November condemning impending cuts to government spending on benefits received by people with special needs. Nevertheless cuts went ahead as planned; cuts which will also affect other vulnerable groups in society including recognised refugees and asylum seekers. It appears that the time has come to close ranks in civil society around the issue of social policy and support. No longer are organisations fighting separate causes, and there must be a realisation that there is both a common cause to fight for and a value in the strength in numbers.

3) Establishing a functioning legal framework for civil society
There is a risk that we sound repetitive… However back in August we highlighted the fact that the process for reform of the Cyprus law as this relates to non-governmental organisations was stuck and in urgent need of a kick up the backside. We spoke with both the Ministries of the Interior and Finance, both of whom assured us that progress was being made and that we should expect “movement” in the process by the end of the calendar year. While both ministries may point to more pressing economic concerns, the majority of the groundwork has been done, and what is needed now is more of a ‘political’ push. We hope that after the presidential elections in February progress can be made towards seeing this process through to an acceptable conclusion for all.

4) Effective participation in the Cyprus peace process
Another process which came to a grinding halt last year, but is expected to be resuscitated in the post-election period. Whichever of the candidates assumes the Presidency they will be faced with a population that is frustrated by the lack of clear progress towards a solution. According to research conducted by the bicommunal think-tank Cyprus2015, there is an increasing trend towards a “no” vote: 51% amongst Greek Cypriot and 42% amongst Turkish Cypriots. In light of this, we believe that the leaders of the two communities would do well to consider Cyprus2015’s “five principles” for redesigning the peace process, and in particular to “develop mechanisms of public consultation, to ensure two-way communication between the leadership and society at large, thus creating a peace process which is owned by the grassroots”.

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