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Cyprus28 July 2005

Some Turkish journalists banned from covering football match

Reporters Without Borders expressed dismay at a decision by Cyprus to ban Turkish journalists based in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (that only Turkey recognises) from covering a football match on 26 July.

The match was between Turkish side Trabzonspor and Greek Cypriot team Anorthosis Famagusta.

"We are dismayed at this decision by Cyprus, a new European Union member since 1st May 2004, which is a clear violation of free access to information. The Turkish journalists were coming simply to cover a popular sports meeting between teams from Cyprus and Turkey," the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

"It is unacceptable for journalists to be targets of political blackmail, fomenting confrontation rather than reconciliation between the Greek and Turkish communities."

Turkish journalists working in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as correspondents for Turkish or Cypriot media wanting to travel to Cypriot territory for professional reasons have to seek permission from Cyprus two days in advance.

All Turkish journalists who had applied for entry to cover the match found themselves refused on 25 July. Turkish Cypriot journalists were able to cover the match, since they are not subject to the same restrictions. All they had to do was to show their identity cards to Greek Cypriot police at border control posts.

"We strongly condemn this obstruction to free access to Cypriot territory for Turkish journalists wanting to cover events there," Kemal Darbaz, President of Basin Sen (Turkish Cypriot journalists’ union), said in a statement on 25 July.




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