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IPI condemns continuing violence against journalists in Northern Cyprus

(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, 20 May 2011 - The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute, condemns the continuing violence and attacks against journalists in Northern Cyprus and urges the authorities to find the perpetrators of all the acts of aggression.

On 18 May 2011, police used violence to disperse a protest organized in North Nicosia by laid-off workers of Turkish Airlines. Journalists who covered the event were beaten and their cameras were broken, according to the Press Workers' Trade Union in Northern Cyprus.

On 12 May 2011, a second bomb was placed in the car of Mutlu Esendemir, the news editor of Turkish-Cypriot Kanal T Television and a reporter for the Turkish language daily Kibris. The journalist suffered minor injuries. On 5 April 2011, a first bomb was placed under Esendemir's car. One day after the first attack, as reported by SEEMO, Esendemir wrote in Kibris that he believed that the attack was related to articles he had written over the preceding 10 days regarding city planning problems in the town of Keryneia. Despite condemnations by political parties and other organisations, the perpetrators have not been found.

As SEEMO also reported, on 2 March 2011, another Turkish-Cypriot journalist, Sener Levent, editor of the newspaper Afirka, was the victim of an attack. On 25 February 2011, unknown assailants opened fire at Afrika's office door. One bullet hit the wall and another lodged in the door. The attackers left a note warning that next time the shots would target the journalist, rather than just his office door.

"Journalists seem to be a deliberate target," said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. "The authorities must identify and hold to account those responsible for the attacks on journalists, and must guarantee the safety of journalists."

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