Northern Cyprus

Northern Cyprus

In Turkey’s shadow

Northern Cyprus’ legislation guarantees press freedom but says it can be limited in order to protect public order, national security or public decency, while defamation continues to be an offence. There is a significant degree of media pluralism and journalists are free to criticise the Turkish-Cypriot authorities.
But pressure has been growing on journalists with regards their coverage of Turkey and its policies towards Cyprus. Some have received “warnings” from Turkish officials and some censor themselves because they fear a crackdown on the media similar to what has happened in Turkey. In order to ingratiate themselves with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP party, some officials and journalists have even published the names of Turkish-Cypriot journalists suspected of links with the Gülen movement – accused by Turkey of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt – and have urged Turkey to arrest them.
Hundreds of demonstrators stormed the headquarters of the newspaper Afrika in January 2018, in protest against an article critical of Turkey’s offensive against a Kurdish militia in Afrin, in northwestern Syria. By referring to the offensive as a “second occupation by Turkey,” the article implied that the Turkish presence in Cyprus was the first “occupation,” which constitutes an insult or defamation in Ankara’s eyes.

The newspaper’s editor, Sener Levent, is facing up  three separate trials in north Cyprus for "defaming a foreign leader", "insulting religion" and "publishing fake news with the intent to create fear and panic among the population"and  faces up to five years in prison for republishing a cartoon from social media of a Greek statue urinating on Erdogan's head captioned: "Through Greek eyes".

in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index



77 in 2018

Global score


29.59 in 2018

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2020
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2020
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2020
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