Northern Cyprus

Northern Cyprus

The Turkish neighbour at the heart of the controversy

Legislation protects press freedom but allows it to be limited in order to protect public order, national security or public decency, while defamation continues to be a crime. A new law on “offences linked to information technology” with vague provisions about “illegal content” and “terrorist activities” could be used to restrict freedom of expression. Covering Turkey and its policies towards Cyprus is problematic. The editor of the daily Avrupa was accused of insulting and defaming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2019 in a cartoon and two articles. After an Ankara court acquitted him, the prosecution appealed. Turkey’s High Council for Broadcasting (RTÜK) ordered the Turkish satellite operator Türksat to stop carrying a Turkish Cypriot TV channel because it had “insulted” Erdoğan and “violated the Turkish Republic’s independence and indivisible unity.” Esra Aygin, a freelance journalist who is RSF’s correspondent, was insulted and threatened after she criticised Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar’s statements about Covid-19 vaccine deliveries. When the online newspaper Özgür Gazete published photos of Tatar meeting secretly with Erdoğan’s campaign team when Tatar was running for president, Tatar said the photos were taken by a foreign intelligence agency, implying that Özgür Gazete’s journalists were spies. The Turkish authorities accused the journalist Aysemden Akin of insulting Turkey and its population in one of her articles. The editor of the daily newspaper Yeni Bakış said he was subjected to police intimidation. Crossing points between the two parts of the island were closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, hampering the movements of journalists and their access to information.

in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index



77 in 2020

Global score


29.79 in 2020

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
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