Cyprus: IFJ welcomes steps towards building understanding through journalism

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Cyprus: IFJ welcomes steps towards building understanding through journalism

The IFJ has welcomed the launch of a new glossary to help journalists in Cyprus address ethical issues when reporting on the island’s enduring conflict.

The glossary was developed as part of a Cyprus Dialogue project, run by the OSCE in co-operation with the IFJ and journalists’ unions in the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot media communities.

Launched at a tri-lingual exhibition on the result of the project, which aims to promote accountable and quality journalism in Cyprus and enhance cooperation between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot media professionals, the glossary offers a useful tool for journalists working on the island. It is also symbolic as it marks one of the first acts of professional solidarity between journalists from two communities that have suffered from one of the most enduring and tense conflicts in the world.

The Cyprus Dialogue Project, launched in March 2017 in cooperation with both the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot journalists’ unions and journalistic communities, has created a platform for journalists to discuss ethics, good governance and self-regulation in their work. Another highlight of this project is an exchange programme for 14 young journalists, giving them an opportunity to work with experienced editors at media outlet in the neighbouring community for one week.

Language usage is an intricate but crucial matter for quality journalism in the complex environment of Cyprus. The glossary serves as a reference tool to explain how words may be perceived by the other community, and lists possible alternatives to those words. It does not impose or restrict the use of certain words, but it can contribute to a better understanding, to quality journalism and to address the hidden bias in the newsrooms on both sides.

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir said the project arose from a desire to “to work with the unions of journalists and with the journalistic communities to promote quality journalism and mutual understanding”.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger said: “We welcome the efforts of the OSCE to promote and strengthen quality journalism in Cyprus. Media should help to develop a better understanding not promote prejudice or greater division. We applaud the efforts of the Cyprus journalists unions and media to work more together to improve media plurality, ethical journalism and better understanding between both communities”.

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