19 November 2007


Ultra-nationalists threaten writer, journalist over stories promoting tolerance, human rights

Incident details

Neshe Yashin, Ibrahim Aziz

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 16 November 2007 media release of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), an IFJ regional group:

Press Freedom in Cyprus Challenged by New Cases of Intolerance, Says the EFJ

Today the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists, strongly condemned the repeated threats against journalists in Cyprus and in particular the latest intimidation of a writer writing about a love affair between a man and woman from either side of the divided community.

"In a split country like Cyprus, we cannot accept that authors and journalists writing about tolerance and cultural dialogue are threatened and intimidated," said EFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "Press freedom is seriously challenged by this recent development and we cannot tolerate intolerance."

Ultra-nationalists in the northern part of Cyprus threatened the journalist and writer Neshe Yashin because of her novella about the affair between a Greek Cypriot man and a Turkish Cypriot woman. Yashin was abused by ultra-nationalist media in the northern part of Cyprus, which wrote that she was a "traitor and a prostitute." "It is intellectual terrorism," Yashin told a bi-communal TV program of the public Broadcaster CyBC.

The EFJ affiliate in Cyprus, the Union of Cyprus Journalists, strongly condemned the threats as an "unacceptable intimidation and violation of freedom of expression and as another attempt by the ultra-nationalists to cultivate the hate between the two communities."

Recently the nationalist media Volkan also threatened the Turkish Cypriot journalist Ibrahim Aziz, who lives permanently in the southern part of Cyprus and is a columnist for the newspaper Africa. Aziz wrote an article about a Greek Cypriot businessman who was arrested in northern Cyprus and was in jail for 25 days and died there, suggesting that his human rights were violated. If he crossed to the northern part of Cyprus, wrote Volkan, Aziz will have "his legs and hands broken."

The Union of Cyprus Journalists condemned the threats against Ibrahim Aziz, who is one of their members.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.


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