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Report says Turkish Cypriot journalists still harassed
2003-03-31 14:17:08

Nicosia, Mar 31 (CNA) - The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists has issued a worldwide survey, in which it notes that in the areas of Cyprus under Turkish occupation Turkish Cypriot journalists opposing the regime were ''harassed and intimidated''.

The report ''Attacks on the Press in 2002'' makes a special reference to daily ''Afrika'', which it says ''is known for its critical reporting'' about senior politicians in Turkey, Turkish military officials stationed on the island, and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.|

''During 2002, the newspaper reportedly received multiple threats and two of its editors, Sener Levent and Memduh Ener, were imprisoned in August and served two months for allegedly libeling Denktash'', the report says.

It adds that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, opened the case of Turkish Cypriot journalist Kutlu Adali, ''who was gunned down outside his home in July 1996''.

''Adali, a left-wing opposition journalist for the Nicosia daily Yeni Duzen, opposed Cyprus' division and criticised the policies of Denktash and Turkey. He had received death threats prior to his assassination, and an ultra- nationalist group with links to Turkish security forces claimed responsibility for his killing'', it says.

The report notes that the so-called ''authorities'' in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus ''failed to investigate the case''.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

On Turkey, the survey notes that the new government ''promised greater democratic reform, including an easing of long-standing restrictions on freedom of expression that remain in place despite changes implemented by the outgoing government''.

It adds that ''while the number of journalists imprisoned in Turkey has steadily dropped in recent years - 13 were in jail at year's end, mostly for being affiliated with outlawed groups' publications - legal harassment of the media continued''.

''But even as the government introduced liberalising measures, it also created new, restrictive ones'', the survey notes, adding that ''censorship and other punitive provisions remain in effect''.

CNA/RG/MM/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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