The President of the Turkish Cypriot Press Workers’ Union (Basın-Sen), journalist Ali Kişmir, was forced to resign from the online channel TV20 because of his reaction to the censorship of a critical article on Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar published on the channel’s website. The information was made public last Friday.
Kişmir announced that following the censorship of his article, the channel’s directors put a stop to his television programmes. The censorship came after the ‘presidency’ had repeatedly contacted TV20 owners about the article.
EFJ Vice President Mustafa Kuleli reacted to the forced dismissal of Ali Kişmir and said that it was proof that press freedom and freedom of expression in Northern Cyprus are in decline. Kuleli stressed that the dismissal was an act of retaliation and intimidation directed not only against Ali Kişmir but against all media and journalists in the region.
In a message on social networks, Kişmir wrote: “Dear friends, until today I have tried to write everything that is the truth about my country and my people. For this, of course, I have had to pay a high price, but I have never allowed my freedom of expression and thought to be restricted! In this context, after my article entitled “Success Story” published yesterday on the TV20 website was censored and removed from the site and linked pages, I informed the administrators that I would not accept this, that it was an insult to me (…). The TV20 administrators then informed me of their decision to cancel my broadcasts. This means that my employment has been terminated”.
The EFJ condemns this brutal dismissal as an act of censorship and intimidation. It calls on the authorities to respect press freedom and to put an end to political interference in the media.