Legislation protects press freedom but allows it to be limited to protect public order, national security or public decency. Problematic media ownership and Turkey’s growing influence is negatively affecting press freedom.
There are 13 newspapers (Kıbrıs, Yenidüzen, Afrika, etc.), 8 TV channels, 5 radio stations and 4 only-online outlets in Northern Cyprus. Most media owners are businessmen with other financial interests. Although pluralism is respected and journalists can criticize Turkish Cypriot authorities, Ankara’s pressure mounts when dealing with Turkey and its policies toward Cyprus.
Turkey’s increasing pressure is negatively affecting press freedom and freedom of expression. Cases are being brought against journalists who criticize the Turkish government and direct interference in editorial content is not uncommon. An opposition journalist was denied entry to Turkey, and another was fired from a TV channel after he criticized Turkish policies. Self-censorship is a reality, while informal, close and sometimes financial relationships between politicians and media owners affect the independence of editorial content.
Legislation protects press freedom but limits it to protect public order, national security, and public decency. Defamation is a crime. A law on IT offenses with vague provisions on "illegal publications" and "terrorist activities" may pose a threat to press freedom. There are no laws for the protection of sources.
Media has been affected by the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. Their dependency on advertising and sponsorship has increased commercial influence over editorial content - a situation that has pushed the newspaper Havadis to be, from now on, only accessible online. Due to economic insecurity, many journalists carry out PR activities for private or public institutions or persons, which affects their objectivity.
Although there are no serious physical threats or attacks, some journalists were subjected to verbal attacks or harassment campaigns, sometimes by officials. Reporters are also often victims of online harassment.