Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Kophinou mosque arson: Greek Cypriot police media censorship

It has been a week, today, since the arson at Kophinou (1) Mosque.

There only nine results in total in Google searches for mentions of Kofinou (2), Kophinou (3), Κοφίνου (4), and Köfünye (5) in the past week, and only one is relevant: the Cyprus Mail story I'm relaying here. Greek Cypriot police nearly achieved complete media censorship.

On Tuesday, 23rd February, Greek Cypriot police first reported 'arson' at Kophinou Mosque, then asked journalists to 'ignore' it, as reporting it would be 'harmful' to the 'national interest'.

The police said that their suspect was not a religious or nationalist extremist, just a 'known, teenage troublemaker, who had no political agenda, but was into mindless destruction'. Every single other Greek Cypriot newspaper (and it seems all other Greek Cypriot media, also) 'helpfully agreed not run the story'.

When accused of 'censorship', the police said that they only 'realised the "arson attack on mosque" story would be harmful' after they alerted the media. Patroclos's sharp conclusion was that, '[n]ext time, the police would simply not [disclose] stories that are bad for [the Republic of] Cyprus'.
  1. Also known as: Cofini; Geçit Kale; Geçitkale; Kofinou; Κοφίνου; Köfünye; Kophina; Kophino; Kophinu; Kyphino; and Secitkales.
Patroclos. 2010: "Tales from the coffeeshop: The roads less travelled". The Cyprus Mail, 28th February. Available at: http://www.cyprus-mail.com/opinions/tales-coffeeshop-roads-less-travelled/20100228

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