OSCE representative concerned about Cyprus court prohibiting media to publish documents

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir expressed on Tuesday concern about a recent court decision in Cyprus “prohibiting the daily Politis from publishing documents regarding the state attorney and the questioning by the police of several journalists of the daily newspapers Politis and Phileleftheros.”

It is essential that journalists be free to report on issues of public importance, Desir said after sending a letter to Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, referring to media reports about leaked e-mails between state attorney Eleni Loizidou and Russian officials.

Desir also stressed that journalists should not be questioned by the police about their work.

As the OSCE press release noted on 10 January 2018, a Nicosia district court ruled in favour of an injunction request by the state attorney against the daily newspaper Politis, following its publication of elements of leaked e-mails of the state attorney. In the month that followed, several journalists from Politis and from Phileleftheros � which has not published the leaked e-mails but made some references to the case � were brought in for questioning by the police. Police officers also demanded that Phileleftheros remove any articles they deemed offending in relation to the Loizidou-case.

I was glad to see that President Nicos Anastasiades has emphasized the need to protect journalistic work, when on 6 December 2017 he said that the messenger cannot be held responsible, and that the journalists have only published documents of public interest, the OSCE Representative said.

He recalled that as stated by the European Court of Human Rights, news is a perishable commodity, delaying or prohibiting its publication, even for a short period, may deprive it of its value and interest. Therefore an injunction must be reasonably proportionate, making sure that it does not curb free debates on issues of public importance.

The OSCE Representative is currently in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, meeting with representatives of the government and civil society. During the official visit he will also attend the Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference 2018.

Source: Cyprus News Agency