talat christofias PEACE 247 

There is possibly no place like it in the world – Cyprus that is. We have the finest Zivania, Verigon grapes, great beaches, ski-ing in the mountains, the juiciest figs, and so much more but when it comes to keeping secrets, there is a serious lack of the grey matter. Why is it that certain sections of the media simply want to pick the recipe, bake the cake and eat it and then declare quiet dumbly that all they were doing was informing the public.

What am I talking about? Well you see Greek Cypriots have the body called The National Council. It is quiet anachronistic, harking back to the days when we had Makarios, our first president as Ethnarch. Makarios, despite his nationalist leanings was simply a liberal in a political sense. Some one who believed, given the realities of Cyprus after 1974, that there was room for all democratically minded parties on the National Council to struggle together for a solution. When he passed away in 1977 The National Council(NC) became more like a battle ground, just like the parliamentary body in The Republic of Cyprus, The House of Representatives.

Since that time, documents which have been defined as ‘secret’ or ‘classified’ have often been leaked, usually by the press and more recently TV and radio media. So this week we saw another classic example of gross media distortion when two TV channels, first SiGMA and then ANT1 (alternatively known as Limbouros One) screened a secret document in the evening which had been shared by the NC in the morning. President Christofias was right to be livid on the issue, particularly see that Limbouros One TV channel grossly misinterpreted the document by stigmatizing the President as some one caving into demands placed by his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Mehmet Ali Talat. This effort comes at a crucial time when the talks entered their second phase, enduring a bump in confidence last week with the fiasco at Limnitis.

Limbouros is not known for its love of Christofias for historical reasons. Owned by Loukis Papaphilippou, who once tried to represent the failed coup military regime of July 14th 1974 at the UN, the station and its owner have maintained a consistently anti-left, hard line nationalist, rejectionist position. In fact, Christofias the candidate and President have never been invited to ANT1. Instead the station churns out a daily diatribe against efforts at a solution. This biasness can also be linked to various fringe far right forces who have attempted to discredit the President with baseless accusations that he is a ‘traitor’ and an ‘informer’. It has never been explained by this rabble rousing Greek flag waving bunch of aspiring goose steppers quiet how Christofias has betrayed Cyprus or who he is informing to but Hitler never really explained himself either. The slogans simply appeared on walls near APOEL’s building and were speedily painted over. They were also bleated out at a rather baseless rally on July 20th aimed to remember the Referendum and the ‘Great No’ of 2004. Several Presidents have endured these kinds of slanderous accusations as well. Vassiliou, Clerides and now Christofias. All of them, despite huge ideological differences, methodologies and personalities attempted, in a constructive manner to solve the unsolvable, to resolve the Cyprus Problem.

Taking all of this into account, its disturbing how nothing has ever been done by people in government, no matter who they are, about the role the media plays in leaking secret documents. In no other country in the world, at least to this scribe’s knowledge would a closed door meeting between political leaders occur in the AM and its content, including classified documents be leaked by TV stations by the PM!!!

It is also shameful that the TV stations engaging in such activities are completely and deliberately misinforming the public and playing on people’s deep sensitivities. Personally I am tired of being told what to think and how to think by the media. Who is the informer and who is providing the misinformation and why they are providing it would make an interesting TV discussion, I wonder if any Greek Cypriot TV channel would dare host it!