25 - 28 January 2012, Nicosia (Cyprus)


The 2nd MARS National Media Encounter – Cross-Production for Inclusive Coverage co-organised by the CMFE (Community Media Forum in Europe) and the CCMC (Cyprus Community Media Centre) was organised in Cyprus / Nicosia from 25 to 28 January 2012. Looking at innovative ways of producing media content to include non-discrimination and diversity as an angle of media coverage, more than 20 journalists from print press, radio or TV accepted to pair up with each other to work on common cross-productions . As an introduction, Karolina Pelendritou, swimmer and gold medallist of Beijing Paralympics 2008, and Coskun Ulusoy, Cypriot soccer player, shared their personal experience with the participants. Karolina Pelendritou insisted on the importance of covering the diversity of situations and practices as a way of fighting against exclusion.

More information about the encounter
Outputs
MEDIA COVERAGE OF RACISM IN SPORT IN CYPRUS
Adam HIRSCH (PeacePlayers) & Demetris VROULLIDES
Media has a powerful influence on the public conscious and plays a key role in shaping public opinion. This opinion piece examines the media coverage (or lack of coverage) of a women’s volleyball match between a Greek-Cypriot and a Turkish team in 2011 that was disrupted by fan violence. Media outlets from the different communities covered the story in dramatically different ways, either highlighting the ethnic angle or downplaying the incident all together. At the same time, organizations like PeacePlayers are working to solve the problem of ethnic violence at a younger age. PeacePlayers is working with youth in the area where the match took place to promote diversity and bring kid from different backgrounds together.
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RACISM NEEDS TO BE ROOTED OUT’: UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR HITS OUT AGAINST WHAT HE BELIEVES IS SOCIETY’S UNWILLINGNESS TO TACKLE OR EVEN RECOGNISE RACIAL ABUSE IN CYPRUS / TAKING EUROPEAN ACTION AGAINST RACISM
John LEONIDOU (The Cyprus Weekly) & Diamantis MASTROGIANNAKIS (Université de Lille)
We have decided to focus our product on what appears to be the ruling bodies’ lack of willingness to address what is a real and very apparent problem within the Cypriot society – the problem of racism and discrimination. Racism is a scorn within any society in the world and we have all seen the horrors of what can happen when racist views and actions are allowed to flourish unrestrained. The problem of racism may not have reached extreme levels yet but the foundations are being laid in what is already a tensely political island comprising of two communities. The problem needs to be addressed, it needs to be rooted out and sports looks like the best medium at present to do something about it. UEFA has taken action and it is time that the Cypriot authorities also did the same. Our product – or article in this case - comprises of views from two researchers, Nicos Trimikliniotis and Diamantis Mastrogiannakis - who also contributed to the article – both of which have background knowledge in sports and violence within society. / We have decided to focus our product on what appears to be the ruling bodies’ lack of willingness to address what is a real and very apparent problem within the Cypriot society – the problem of racism and discrimination. Racism is a scorn within any society in the world and we have all seen the horrors of what can happen when racist views and actions are allowed to flourish unrestrained. The problem of racism may not have reached extreme levels yet but the foundations are being laid in what is already a tensely political island comprising of two communities. The problem needs to be addressed, it needs to be rooted out and sports looks like the best medium at present to do something about it. UEFA has taken action and it is time that the Cypriot authorities also did the same. Our product – or article in this case - comprises of views from two researchers, Nicos Trimikliniotis and Diamantis Mastrogiannakis - who also contributed to the article – both of which have background knowledge in sports and violence within society.
Read the article from John LEONIDOU
Read the article from Diamantis MASTROGIANNAKIS
RACIST LANGUAGE IS A COMMON APPROACH IN BULGARIA’S MEDIA LANDSCAPE: SURPRISINGLY IN CYPRUS THE RACISM IN SPORTS IS ALMOST UNKNOWN
Valentin Todorov (Noviiskar.bg) & Celen Oben (Star Kibris)
The main aim of our media cross-report was to highlight and share with our readers and audience our findings as professional journalists on the expression of diversity and non-discrimination in sports and in the society as a whole. Bulgaria and Cyprus are two relatively small, but different countries, people have a different mentality and different agendas, and so our media systems are different. But it turned out that there are some differences that are important for the society question about racism in sports and in society as a whole. Our common task was to find and tell about the differences and similarities in the media in Bulgaria and Cyprus about such matters.
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DIGITAL MEDIA POSTER CAMPAIGN AGAINST RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION IN SPORTS
Sertunc AKDOGU (Gommalar) & Markos LOIZOU (WabWall)
3 separate posters as a media campaign to illustrate the power of digital media against racism in sports. Each unique poster in the series highlights a different perspective of issues of discrimination.
Poster 1: "Stop discrimination"
Poster 2: "Stop hooliganism"
Poster 3: "Stop racism"
GENERATION HATE
Natasha APOSTOLIDOU & Adi HALFON (Deutsche Welle)
The article focuses on the perceptions of the different generations of the Cypriot right-winged APOEL Football Club fans. The older generation who experienced both Cyprus as a mixed community, and the war that resulted in the division of the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities, are much more moderate than their successors. The Ultras Club and members are mostly male in their mid 20s building their identity upon the club and its “ideology” that Cyprus is a Greek island. They express these messages in an extreme way involving hate and violence. However, a younger more extreme generation is rising and nobody seems to be able to stop this escalation.
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OPEN YOUR MIND: LOOK DEEPER
Stylianos PAPANTONAKIS (Cyprus University of Technology) & Willy TOTORO (ARRC)
In Europe society is already multicultural, a reality we cannot ignore. Our action need is to improve and to develop our life to a higher level. The only way to do it is to accept the reality of multiculturalism and to include everyone in the process. Discrimination, racism and exclusion are a poison to that process. Ideologies of nationalism in the 19th century and how they influence football. The way England introduced this game to Europe. How society and politicians situations influence the game. Variations of racist behaviours and actions in football. Different approaches for effective solutions. Football as an educational in anti-racism campaigns. Diversity in sports. Solutions and Suggestions.
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POLITICS AT PLAY
Alana KAKOYIANNIS (Sugarfoot Films) & Tom LOWE (The Times)
Football is more than just a game in Cyprus. For many supporters like Harris Hadjipavlou, the former president of the APOEL fan club, it is deeply rooted in politics. His long allegiance to the team has brought both moments of elation and unwanted controversy – and at Scarabeo, the restaurant and cultural centre he runs in Nicosia, the wounds are still healing. Apoel’s historic march into the final 16 of this year’s Champions League comes just eight months after a mob of fans of rival team Omonia stormed Scarabeo in May last year. Hurling Molotov cocktails and wielding sickles, the gang caused both extensive damage to the property and serious injury to four men who tried to defend it. But it wasn’t the first outbreak of fan violence in Cyprus. Here, where professional football was built on political foundations, it is condemned to a “dark cycle” of reprisals – unless, as Harris and his Scarabeo co-owner, Christos Skapoullis argue, fans can put political history aside and concentrate on the beautiful game.
Watch the report
SPORT FOR THE REUNIFICATION OF CYPRUS
Necmi BELGE (Yenidüzen Newspaper) & Stefan TENNER (CMFE)

The Cyprus conflict also affects sport. Turkish Cypriot sportsmen, women and clubs are still isolated and unable to compete in international platforms such as FIFA-UEFA, IAAF and the IOC. Only if they accept to play overseas for Turkey, or in the Cyprus Republic, can they compete in these international platforms. The division in sport started before both communities declared independence. In the last years a rising number of Turkish Cypriot sportsmen and women joined Greek Cypriot federations. Despite some of them embarking on a big career and get a paragon for both communities, racist incidents have occurred. Sports events still play an important role in the long-term reunification process, and there is uncertainty if it will ever come to an end.
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WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF RACISM IN SPORT IN CYPRUS? A BI-COMMUNAL AND COMMUNITY MEDIA PERSPECTIVE
George ANDRIOTIS (NGO Support Centre) & Neophytos NEOPHYTOU (Radio Astra)
The weekly bicommunal programme (“Cypriots Come Let’s Talk - Elate Kypraioi na syntihoume”), hosted by Neophytos and dealing with bicommunal initiatives and relations, gave us the platform and opportunity to devote this week’s programme to MARS. Our aim is to raise and touch upon the not-so-obvious issues of racism in sport in Cypriot society, examining the issue from a bicommunal perspective. The programme will build on Wednesday’s discussion on issues of racism in sport as a result of the Cyprus Problem, as well as the new developments in both sides as a result of the division. Footballer Coskun Olusoy and journalist Necmi Belge will contribute to the discussion, while academic Nicos Trimikliniotis will offer a Greek Cypriot perspective to the debate. We hope to touch on the reluctance of the Greek Cypriot authorities to take action against racism in sport, but also the unwillingness of the Greek Cypriot media to stigmatise acts of racism and to alert society about the dangers of such acts. George’s participation, along with Michael Simopoulos, will add a different angle to the radio show, concentrating on the need of continuing reconciliation initiatives of the civil society in brining the two communities together and exposing the not-so-obvious acts of racism. These issues were raised in the points sent by Karolina Pelendritou in Wednesday’s discussion. Michael and George will give the community media perspective on how such issues should be exposed to the public sphere. As a result, in our attempt to raise awareness of the subject to listeners, a mosaic of interviews was born, to provide a comprehensive overview of the subject.
Listen to the audio report
Bonus
Interview - Karolina Pelendritou
Swimmer and gold medallist of Beijing Paralympics 2008
GR | EN
Interview - Reynald BLION
Council of Europe, Media & Diversity and Mars programme Manager
Listen to the interview
Interview - Sonia PARAYRE
Council of Europe, Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) / Deputy Executive Secretary
Listen to the interview