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Cyprus drops three places in press freedom index

Cyprus has dropped three places to 27th position in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Published every year since 2002 by RSF, the index is an advocacy tool based on the principle of emulation between states, ranking 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists.

According to the index, freedom of expression is guaranteed in both parts of the island.

“In the north (the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus), the presence of more than 30,000 Turkish army soldiers limits coverage of political developments,” RSF said.

In the government controlled areas, “political parties and the Orthodox Church exercise a great deal of influence.”

The Church controls part of the TV station Mega while the daily newspaper Haravghi and Radio Astra support the communist party AKEL, RSF said.

The index is a snapshot of the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety of journalists in each country.

It does not rank public policies even if governments obviously have a major impact on their country’s ranking.

Nor is it an indicator of the quality of journalism in each country.

The 2016 index reflects the intensity of the attacks on journalistic freedom and independence by governments, ideologies and private-sector interests during the past year.

It also includes indicators of the level of media freedom violations in each region.

These show that Europe (with 19.8 points) still has the freest media, followed distantly by Africa (36.9), which for the first time overtook the Americas (37.1), a region where violence against journalists is on the rise.

Asia (43.8) and Eastern Europe/Central Asia (48.4) follow, while North Africa/Middle East (50.8) is still the region where journalists are most subjected to constraints of every kind.

Finland topped the ranking, followed by Holland in second place, and Norway and Denmark in third and fourth respectively.

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