Category Archives: Cyprus

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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.

TedX Nicosia returns on 9 March!

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TEDxNicosia enters its second year with the event due to take place at Pallas Theater in Nicosia on Saturday, March 9 2013, from at 10 am – 5 pm.

According to the organiers, TEDxNicosia was born out of the search for inspiration in Cyprus. Since the inaugural event on November 30, 2011, a lot has happened in Nicosia, in Cyprus and the world. Locally, and starting with the positive, we now have a more vibrant, grassroots effort to regenerate an entrepreneurship ecosystem foster fresh ideas and nurture the bright minds in this country. On the other hand, Cyprus and its capital city, Nicosia, are facing their worse worst financial crisis in the last forty years. With the financial crisis in Cyprus at full steam, out of the woodwork comes the social value system that largely lead the country where it is today.

So rather than asking: “What could we have done to prevent this?” this TEDxNicosia event will be asking the audience to RE.Think. Re.Generate. Re.Act!.

Opening a digital Window to the History of Cyprus

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This article was first published on page 16 of The Cyprus Weekly (8 February 2013).

Allow me to start with a few questions: What is the relationship between medieval Cyprus and media? How can centuries-old historical artefacts be brought to life by modern technology? Can a creative interpretation of cultural heritage help cultivate a vision of a common future in Cyprus? At a small gathering at the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) on Saturday 26 January, celebrating over two year’s work on, the Cyprus Artefacts Treasure (CAT) media education project , the answers were clear in our minds.

A little bit of background to start with. In October 2011, and under the auspices of the International Children’s Film Festival of Cyprus, or ICFFCY for short, the participants in CAT 1 got together in a group comprised of 20 Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot children from Paphos and Famagusta as well as 10 adults. What we wanted was to respond to the Brussels Declaration, adopted in January 2011 under the Belgian Presidency of the European Union, which called for, amongst others, the development and promotion of “pedagogies adapted to each audience, to all ages of life, to varying social and cultural backgrounds”. And what better way to learn about the creative use of media than through the lens of history and culture!

There is often criticism of so-called ‘bicommunal’ projects for not affecting significant changes, but we beg to differ. Because we knew what we wanted to do! Our bicommunal group of eager young Cypriots and enthusiastic educators met regularly over a period of 6 months during the CAT 1 and worked on 5 animation films which illustrated each in its own unique way, a little bit of Cypriot artefacts from the Ayia Irini collection. All of a sudden through the eyes of the children emerged a blend of creativity and history that brought to life a world long forgotten, consigned for the most part to history textbooks, encyclopaedias, and dusty museum displays. In that time we also published two educational booklets about Cypriot artefacts prepared jointly by ICFFCY and the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR).

The excitement got the better of us! In May 2012 we launched the CAT 2 with the aim of building on the success of CAT 1, and to strengthen the bonds between our two partners, the Famagusta Cultural Association and Paphos Antamosis organisation. We realised that culture and media really could be used as a vehicle for promoting a shared understanding of both past and present, for promoting trust and dialogue, and for nurturing reconciliation. This time we were focusing on medieval Cypriot artefacts.

We traversed the island visiting medieval archaeological, from St Hilarion all the way to Paphos Castle. The work was not always easy of course – there is the issue of language that we had work with, and the very obvious impact of the division of the island. But where there is a will, there is a way. And our group leaders and volunteers worked tirelessly, with a smile on their face and with tremendous energy to keep the momentum of CAT going. In the process we managed to involve not only the children but also their parents, with people experiencing the ‘other’s’ reality, which was an equally rewarding experience.

Whether there will be a CAT 3 remains to be seen. But if there are parents and teachers out there who would like to become involved with our work, or would just like to find out more information about CAT, please visit our website http://www.icffcy-cat.com.

The CAT was supported by the Bicommunal Support Programme of the US Embassy in Cyprus and organised by ICFFCY in collaboration with Mağusa Kültür Derneği in Famagusta and Antamosis in Paphos.

School Competition Against Racism Calls for the Best Student Newspapers

poster ENPress Release issued by the European Commission Representation in Cyprus:

A school competition against racism and xenophobia has been launched by the UN Refugee Agency in Cyprus, the Ombudsman’s office and the European Commission Representation in Cyprus. With the slogan “Talk about racism and xenophobia: silence is not a solution”, the competition is looking for the best student newspapers.

The competition invites public and private secondary schools to create a newspaper with articles, reportages and researches as well as opinions on asylum and migration, racism and xenophobia. Objective and unbiased coverage of these issues is one of the criteria that will determine the winning newspapers.

With regards to the overarching aims of the competition the organisers explain: “We aim at dispelling stereotypes and prejudices against migrants and refugees and to emphasize both the necessity and the benefits that the integration of persons with different backgrounds can yield on the Cypriot society”.

Identifying and addressing racism at schools, with reference to tensions with a racist overtone that occasionally takes place at schools, lies also behind the competition: “The effective management of such incidents by the school community strengthens the resistance of students, and future citizens, against racism; it also responds to the needs of the multicultural society and wider diversity that characterizes Cypriot schools and the society at large,” the proposal reads.

An interview with a refugee or migrant or with an organization that advocates for their rights; an anonymous research within the schools to detect potential racist incidents; the coverage of an event – organised by the students – that brings together migrants and locals; are a few of the 15 suggested stories that students can tackle as young reporters.

In order to support the students’ efforts, the organisers stand ready to provide sources and educational material on the issues of xenophobia, racism and refugees; and to visit schools to discuss with students on these topics.

Six successful newspapers – three from Gymnasiums and three from Lyceums and technical schools – will be selected by an ad hoc committee. School winners will be awarded – at a special ceremony to be announced later – laptops, cameras, video cameras as well as symbolic placards with the inscription “Schools against Racism”. The cost of the awards, including the placards, will be borne by the European Commission Representation.

With the aim to enhance a thorough and critical discussion on the competition’s themes, the organisers expect schools to work as a team and submit one group entry to the competition. Based on this rationale, the awards will be placed at the winning schools for the mutual and common benefits of the students.

Deadline of the competition is the 29th March 2013. All interested schools must submit their newspapers in an electronic format. Check out the event on Facebook and YouTube!

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!

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Recipients of CCMC Incentive Awards for Media Collaboration announced today!

The Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) just announced the winners of its Incentive Awards for Media Collaboration at a ceremony at the Home for Cooperation in Nicosia (22 January 2013). The Incentive Awards Sceheme, launched in September 2012 under the MultiCommMedia project, aims to promote professional collaboration between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot media. The recipients were NRG TV with Media Works for a project on Cyprus nightlife across the divide, and CyprusNews.eu with Baris Gazetesi for Voices & Echoes – an online news portal.

Have a look at our gallery of photos from today’s ceremony  – we can’t wait to see the collaborations in action!

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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.

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