EU and OSCE weigh in on prosecution of Afrika and its journalists

first_imgThe European Commission said Thursday that the harassment and intimidation of journalists constituted violation of the freedom of expression, guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.The Commission was responding to a question from the Cyprus News Agency on the prosecution by Turkey of Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika and its journalists Sener Levent and Ali Osman.The Commission said in its reply that it was aware of reports that criminal proceedings had been initiated in Turkey against Levent, Osman and Afrika.It recalled that it had earlier deplored violence used by demonstrators against the offices of Afrika in connection with the same article, underlining that “harassment and intimidation of journalists constitutes a violation of the freedom of expression, guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.The Commission said it would continue to monitor the issue, to raise it with the appropriate counterparts, and to “underline the paramount importance of freedom of expression in fostering trust between the two Cypriot communities.”Furthermore, it called “on all parties concerned to ensure respect for the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, notably Article 10 concerning freedom of expression.”OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir in a letter today to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also expressed his concern.“Threatening journalists with criminal lawsuits for their work weakens pluralistic debate in societies, can lead to self-censorship among journalists and to the overall deterioration of media freedom… The right to freedom of expression encompasses views that may offend, shock, and disturb,” he added.The Representative recalled that Afrika has been under significant pressure for an extensive period of time. He mentioned the attack against Levent and the newspaper’s offices in January, and stressed that violence and intimidation of journalists was unacceptable.“It is essential for the public authorities to refrain from initiating lawsuits against journalists for their work, including when they express differing views on sensitive affairs. I urge them to drop the lawsuits against Levent and Osman,” Désir said.Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Wednesday that the government of the Republic of Cyprus has referred the prosecution of Turkish Cypriot newspaper “Afrika” and its journalists Sener Levent and Ali Osman in Turkey to the OSCE and the EU.Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Afrika, formerly known as Avrupa, came under attack last January, after referring to “yet another invasion” by Turkey, following its assault on Afrin, Syria.According to Turkish Cypriot press reports Levent and Osman were recently called by police to testify in a case filed in Ankara against them over the headline criticising Turkey’s military offensive in Afrin.  You May LikeForbes | Zip JobsThe Real Reason You Don’t Hear Back After Sending a ResumeForbes | Zip JobsUndoSidiario.comDiscover these remedies to travel and not get dizzySidiario.comUndoHealthZap50 Places No One Is Ever Allowed To VisitHealthZapUndo From space heroes to artists: women written out of historyUndoBritain preparing for a no-deal BrexitUndoHouse rejects presidential veto over repossession lawUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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