Tag Archives: community media

The Role of Mass Media in the Settlement of the Cyprus Problem

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By Orestis Tringides

This is a short version of an article included in the publication “Managing Intractable Conflicts: Lessons from Moldova and Cyprus” available here.

If it is agreed that in order for the mass media to be able to play a positive role in the peace-building process and cooperation in a conflict region they first have to ensure impartiality in both the way they present the news and in the way they operate, then the media in Cyprus cannot fulfill that role. Some of the problems regarding the media in Cyprus playing an effective role in peace- and trust-building between the two communities (Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots), are; the tendency of advocacy journalism (the kind of journalism that deliberately and transparently employs a non-objective perspective for political or social intentions) and the reliance on external (official).

As a percentage of the population, the readership of newspapers is relatively low – the broadcast media is a preferred source of news and opinion. News programs frequently feature developments regarding the Cyprus problem, although due to a limited number of sources, and heavily politically influence, they often resort to advocacy journalism with a dramatized and sensationalized delivery of news about a political development. In many cases there is lack of investigative journalism, with the news falling short of informing the audience as they lack crucial, or background information required to understand and present the issue thoroughly. Very frequently party-centric (male-dominated) and heated debates take place, thus diminishing (and sometimes, deliberately undermining) the role of those who can provide technocratic expertise, or a non-partisan view.

Civil society events that work to bring the two communities together have been largely excluded in the “traditional” media outlets – although in recent years civil society organizations (CSOs) have started employing and increasing their skills capacity in the new media (social media) that indirectly tend to attract more attention by the mainstream media. Exemplar cases of cooperation in the media across the divide (Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot) have largely taken place “outside” of the established administrative structures; mainly by individuals’ initiatives.

Problems and obstacles in the media having an effective role in peace- and trust-building between the two communities are:

  • Financial Dependencies and Political Influence. Media’s susceptibility to either commercial or political influence and pressure is in large part the result of the difficulties encountered in establishing an independent economic base upon which any non-state media enterprise depends on.
  • Practical and Legal Obstacles; Press Freedom and Access to Information. Journalists on both sides of the island are not (entirely) free to deviate from the agreed political modus operandi between their editors/outlet management and political party/ies, or other poles of political influence. Also, journalists on both sides are being hindered to perform their duties due to a lack of an effective access to information legal framework.
  • Cooperation Obstacles Due to Non-Recognition. The fear of “implied” recognition has developed obstacles on basic issues, such as how to address and acknowledge the other side; journalists have employed a terminology when referring to the other side (e.g. “pseudo-state”; the “Greek Cypriot Administration” etc.) that is plainly offensive for the other side.
  • The Barriers of Language and Information. Media outlets communicate in two different languages, Greek and Turkish; therefore, it is difficult for journalists from the opposite side of the dividing line to follow the news on the other side and to have a clear picture of the prevailing opinions on the other side of the dividing line.
  • Mass Media being part of the problem by emphasizing the hardships and obstacles to a settlement, and almost no mention of any prospects for a solution.
  • Neutral or negative Portrayal of Bi-communal, Collaborative and Reconciliatory Civil Society Efforts by the Mass Media.
  • The Portrayal of the “Other” Community by the Mass Media reinforcing a common public perception that one community does not want a peaceful solution with the other by giving disproportional coverage to the few extremist voices of the other side, rather than of those who wish for a solution.
  • During the Annan Plan era, most of the Greek Cypriot media favored its rejection, attacking those in favor, emphasizing the negatives and dismissing, or not mentioning, the positives.

There are various examples of cooperation/communication and flow of Information from and to Each Side. In 2003, when, for the first time since the war of 1974, the moving restrictions from one side to the other were eased, journalists from both sides had the opportunity to meet and cooperate with each other. Currently, this cooperation is mostly conducted in an un-strategic manner via the formal structures of the media outlets; most of the times it is e.g. based on a journalist’s personal connections with another journalist on the other side. Nevertheless, since 2003, some media organizations have established forms of direct cooperation between journalists and media organizations on the other side thus helping each other not only to get access to primary information on the news, but also helping their colleagues to understand the background of a story; this included featuring articles of journalists from the other community.

Because most attempts at collaboration remain hidden below the surface and informal, collaboration at the institutional level remains low. Also, the Internet remains an underutilized forum for media and information exchange. The civil society sector, engaged in cross-community issues, has used social media to promote dialogue and debate on issues of common concern.

For these abovementioned reasons, as an alternative to the established traditional media, joint initiatives in the Community Media (an umbrella term that also includes Social Media) have recently been taken by CSOs and individuals from both sides. As a result, the established Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) acts as a “transcommunal” CSO (by this term emphasizing that its scope goes beyond the “exclusivity” of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities) that aims to increase civil society’s capacity in providing CSOs with the skills and tools to both communicate their message in the wider public and also to find ways to communicate with the traditional media. CCMC was established as a result of the identified “media gap” that the CSOs were facing and to counteract the disregard that the CSOs have been treated with by the traditional media and, as a result, the broader society. Community Media has been identified as an (alternative) means for building cooperation in the media sector – a sector that is very important for the peace process.

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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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Community Media activist Archana Kapoor at CCMC this Monday 28 January

ARCHANA QUADRATThe Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) is hosting a prominent community media activist from India as part of its ongoing advocacy campaign for the recognition of this sector in Cyprus. Entitled ‘Community Media: Giving Voice to the Voiceless’ this public talk followed by discussion will feature a keynote speech by Archana Kapoor, a filmmaker, author and activist. Ms Kapoor is also the publisher of Hardnews magazine, an independent political monthly in India, and founder of the NGO SMART that works with marginalised communities in India. Two years ago Kapoor launched a community radio station in an impoverished rural community outside Delhi. The radio station went on to win a National Award from the Government of India in 2012. Kapoor is also on the governing board of the Community Radio Association, an organisation established in order to promote and lobby for the community radio movement. The event will be followed by a reception. Look forward to seeing you there! Download your invitation here.

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Cypriot athletes join CCMC in tackling racism in sport

We’re excited to announce that tomorrow will see the start of a Media Against Racism in Sport (MARS) four-day encounter at the Cyprus Community Media Centre. Paralympian Gold Medallist Karolina Pelendritou and footballer Coskun Ulusoy are supporting the event, which starts on Wednesday 25 January and is organised in partnership with the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE). The aim of the programme is to promote the inclusion of the principles of non-discrimination and diversity as an ongoing angle of media coverage. Organised within the framework of the joint CoE / European Union MARS – Media Against Racism in Sport – programme, this encounter will focus on sport related issues. The issue of racism in sport has made headlines across Europe in recent months following incidents involving high-profile football players in England’s Barclays Premier League. “The cases of Luis Suarez and John Terry have highlighted the importance of understanding the nature and prevalence of racism in sport”, said Michalis Simopoulos, local coordinator of the encounter. “By encouraging professional collaboration with media actors and the exchange of media practices, CCMC hopes to enhance a diversity of perspectives and topics dealt with by the media”. The MARS Programme is a follow-up action to the 2008 – 2010 CoE “Speak out Against Discrimination” campaign. “We believe that an inclusive information environment is crucial for achieving effective social cohesion and participation in democratic life”, said Reynald Blion, MARS programme manager. “Working with media partners at the European and national levels is a strategy that we believe can influence public opinion vis-à-vis diversity and intercultural issues”. For more information on the MARS Programme, please visit: http://www.coe.int/mars.

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Prix Jeunesse’s best in children’s TV coming to Cyprus! 12-13 December 2011

The best of children’s television, honoured by the internationally-recognised Prix Jeunesse International competition, will feature in two days of screenings and seminars organised by the Goethe-Institut Cyprus, in partnership with the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research and the Cyprus Community Media Centre. The two-day event will take place on December 12th and 13th at the Home for Cooperation in Nicosia’s buffer zone starting from 9am. This is the first time a Prix Jeunesse International screening is being held in Cyprus, aimed at encouraging dialogue, a deeper understanding of quality in children’s media, and professional cooperation in the field of children’s media between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. “Children in Europe spend an average of 150 minutes a day in front of the television, but are they watching programmes that are educational, stimulating, and age-appropriate?” said Björn Luley, director of the Goethe-Institut in Nicosia. “We want to showcase how children’s television can develop intercultural understanding in Cyprus and across the world.” Entries have been received from all over the world but there hasn’t been an entry from Cyprus yet. This event will hopefully encourage Cypriot media practitioners to enter the competition. The organisers are calling on children’s television producers, educators, journalists, researchers and media students from across the divide to attend the seminars and screenings. The films screened in Nicosia will be the winners of the most recent biennial Prix Jeunesse International film festival held last year in Munich under the theme ‘Different and Same – Celebrating Diversity.’ The programme for the seminar for adult experts on Monday, 12 December 2011 will be subdivided into different age categories: 12-15 year olds, 7-11 year olds and up to six years old. On Tuesday 13 December 2011 there will be screenings for schoolchildren aged 8-10 years old from 9-11am and screenings for parents and their children aged 6-12 years old from 5-7pm. For more information about Prix Jeunesse International, please visit: http://www.prixjeunesse.de.

Download invitation in EnglishGreek and Turkish.

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CCMC’s Michalis Simopoulos will be on SIM TV Tonight 6-7pm

CCMC’s Michalis Simopoulos will be on SIM TV tonight from 6-7pm, talking about the CMFE and the important outcomes of the conference. SIM TV can also be watched in the southern part of Nicosia too. The interview will be in English with simultaneous translation. http://ow.ly/7AjOc

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CCMC talks Community Media on CyBC Radio 2, Thursday 25 August

Tune in on Thursday 25 August, at 18:45, CyBC Radio 2, to hear CCMC’s Michael Simopoulos in conversation with Rosie Charalambous, on the ‘Round and About’ programme. The discussion will focus on CCMC’s upcoming collaboration with the Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) on CMFE’s first Annual Conference on community media, to be held in Nicosia’s Buffer Zone on 17-19 November. The conference will focus on a whole range of issues, including the present state of Community Media in Europe, community media’s role in promoting intercultural dialogue and participation, as well as an assessment of the potential for community media in Cyprus. For more information visit the conference homepage – http://www.cmfe.eu/conference2011. Stay tuned!

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CCMC Event 9 December 2010: ‘What’s our story?’ Digital Storytelling Screening

What’s our story?: Personal stories from across the island

Thurs 9 Dec at 5:30pm “A community screening of digital storytelling”

Join your neighbours as we celebrate the screening of their new personal digital stories!  These short, multimedia videos of personal transformation were created in workshops across the island at Highgate School, the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC), and three universities.  The workshops were initiated by Dr. John W. Higgins, a U.S. Fulbright scholar in Cyprus working in digital storytelling and community media.

We will also be celebrating the first anniversary of the opening of the CCMC community space and production studio. Join us for some birthday cake!

At the CCMC & Fulbright Center, near Ledra Palace Hotel, UN Buffer Zone, Nicosia.

 

BİZİM HİKAYEMİZ NE?: Kıbrıs’ın dört bir yanından kişisel hikayeler

9 Aralık Perşembe, saat 17:30’da “Dijital hikaye anlatımının toplu gösterimi”

Yeni dijital hikeyelerinin gösterimini kutlayan komşularınıza katılın! Kişisel değişimi anlatan kısa mutlimedya videoları, Kıbrıs’ın birçok farklı noktasında -Highgate Okulu, CCMC (Kıbrıs Toplum Medya Merkezi), ve üç üniversitede- gerçekleşen atölye çalışmalarında yaratıldılar. Atölye çalışmaları, Kıbrıs’ta toplum medyası ve dijital hikaye anlatımı üzerine çalışmalar yapan  ABD Fulbright temsilcisi Dr. John Higgins tarafından yürütülmüştür.

Ayni zamanda CCMC (Kıbrıs Toplum Medya Merkezi)’nin toplum merkezinin ve prodüksiyon stüdyosunun açılışının birinci yıldönümünü de kutlayacağız. Doğumgünü pastası için bize katılın!

Birleşmiş Milletler Ara bölgesinde, Ledra Palace Oteli yanında, CCMC & Fulbright Merkezi’nde

 

Ποια είναι η ιστορία μας; Προσωπικές ιστορίες από όλο το νησί

Πέμ. 9 Δεκεμβρίου στις 5:30 μ.μ.

“Κοινωτική προβολή ‘digital’ αφήγησης”

Ελάτε με τους γείτονες σας καθώς εορτάζουμε την προβολή των νέων προσωπικών ‘digital’ ιστορίων τους! Αυτά τα μικρά φιλμάκια προσωπικού μετασχηματισμού δημιουργήθηκαν σε εργαστήρια σε ολόκληρο το νησί – στο σχολείο Highgate, στο Κέντρο Κοινοτικών Μέσων Επικοινωνίας Κύπρου (CCMC), και σε τρία πανεπιστήμια. Τα εργαστήρια είναι πρωτοβουλία του Δρ John W. Higgins, Υπότροφος Fulbright στην Κύπρο που ασχολείται με την digital αφήγηση και τα κοινοτικά μέσα επικοινωνίας.

Επίσης, θα γιορτάσουμε την πρώτη επέτειο από τα εγκαίνια του Κέντρου Κοινωτικών Μέσων Επικοινωνίας και το στούντιο παραγωγής της. Ελάτε να απολαύσετε την τούρτα γενεθλίων μας! Στο CCMC & το Κέντρο Fulbright, κοντά στο Λήδρα Πάλας, στην ουδέτερη ζώνη της Λευκωσίας.

 

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CCMC LAUNCHES NEW TRAINING SCHEDULE

The Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) continues its efforts to empower and support local civil society organisations island-wide, through the launch of its new training schedule.

The trainings cover a range of topics aiming to assist Cypriot civil society organisations with their media skills and communications with the public. These workshops are part of CCMC’s mission to support civil society on the island. By attending these trainings our members can empower themselves with the skills and confidence to be even more effective in their work.

All sessions will take place at CCMC’s Community Space. The premises are on the grounds of Ledra Palace, Nicosia, making it accessible to all the communities of the island. Training is conducted in English, with Greek and Turkish speakers providing language support throughout. The full list of workshops is as follows:

  • 3 November 2010: Planning a Successful Event
  • 11 November 2010: Basic Invitation Design
  • 24 November 2010: Strategic Communications
  • 30 November 2010: How to: Podcast
  • 3, 4, 5 December 2010: Digital Storytelling
  • 7 December 2010: Blogging
  • 19 January 2011: Working with the Media
  • 22 January 2011: Media Crisis Management
  • 2 and 3 February 2011: Video Production
  • 16 and 17 February 2011: Video Editing

Registration is necessary and open to civil society organisations, NGOs, and individuals working on multicultural or inter-communal activities, with priority given to CCMC’s members.

All sessions are free of charge.

To read full details about the workshops, please download the brochure here and register online here.

For more information please visit: www.cypruscommunitymedia.org


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CCMC RAW

CCMC RAW is a new series of short comment-free clips captured from significant events, exchanges and experiences. We aim to show you the raw and the real with no lengthy post-production that often reduces immediacy. It also provides the space for you, the viewer, to draw your own conclusions.

Our first installment is about a new draft NGO law proposed in the northern part of Cyprus. More than 30 civil society organisations led by the Cyprus NGO Network raised their objections to the new draft law at a public gathering on 5 May 2010. “The law was prepared with no consultation with civil society,” said Bulent Kanol, Management Centre of the Mediterranean. “And it includes articles which violate freedom of association in the Turkish Cypriot community in Cyprus.”

Watch the first CCMC RAW below:

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