IFJ Condemns “Cowardly and Vicious Attack” by Nationalist Thugs on Cypriot Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists today condemned a “cowardly and vicious attack” by an ultra-nationalist group against a Turkish-Cypriot journalist on assignment in the northern part of Cyprus.

On 17 October, the so-called Grey Wolves attacked Murat Kanatlý, editor of the weekly Yeni Çag newspaper who had been reporting on events taking place at their Nicosia centre. On the way back to his own office, over 30 members of the group punched and hit him and took his digital camera. Kanatli had been filming a demonstration organised by the Grey Wolves over European Union and US policy in Cyprus.

“Journalists have to walk a professional tightrope when reporting the Cyprus conflict,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “And this sort of brutality makes their job almost impossible. Reporters must be free to work without fear of violence and intimidation. The future of free expression and democracy in Cyprus depends upon it.”

Murat Kanatlý went to police headquarters to complain about the attack and to ask police to get his camera back, which they finally did but without the memory card. However, nobody has been arrested. “It is extraordinary that so many people can be involved in such an incident, but nobody has been picked up,” said White. The IFJ says the police must do more to build confidence among journalists that they are doing all they can to protect media staff.

The IFJ is also backing its colleagues at the Union of Press Workers (Basin-Sen) and the Union of Cyprus Journalists who continue to defend the basic human rights of the media community in Cyprus.

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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries