Established in 2009, the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) works to empower civil society organisations and community groups with the tools to communicate their message to a wider audience. Through training and dedicated production support, equipment loan and access to a state-of-the-art production studio, CCMC promotes the benefits of community-based media by giving people the skills to be in control of their own messages. We believe that through our work we can be an example of best practice, aiding the establishment of a vibrant community media sector in Cyprus.
Based in the heart of Nicosia’s Buffer Zone, CCMC is accessible to all communities across the whole of Cyprus. We aim to act as a bridge between the mainstream media and civil society, and to facilitate the development of sustainable relationships between the media across the Cyprus divide.
Through their work they strive to be inclusive, collaborative, transparent, equitable and nonpartisan, promoting the creation and broadcasting of productions that contribute to community reconciliation, diversity and multiculturalism.
CCMC is a member of the Board of the Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE), the European-wide umbrella organisation for community media organisations, practitioners and academics. They are also active participants in the Council of Europe’s campaigns (MARS and MEDIANE) against racism and discrimination in the media.
Strategic Areas of Action
1) Promoting Community Media in Cyprus
Across Europe, Community Media has been establishing itself as ‘the third sector’ in the medialandscape alongside public and commercial media. Particularly since the creation of the World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC) in 1983, Community Media has begun to receive legal recognition in many European Union member states. There have also been significant developments at the European level about community media, such as the European Parliament Resolution on Community Media (2008) and the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (2009).
A report commissioned in 2007 by the Education Committee of the European Parliament pointed out that there was no information available about the existence of Community Media in Cyprus. There isgreat potential for the community media sector to contribute to media pluralism, as well as freedom of expression and information. Certain sectors of the population, in particular marginalised groups such as women, youth, and new migrant communities are underrepresented in the mainstream media, and Community Media can offer the support and access for a diversification of voices in the Cyprus media landscape.
What they do:
– Strengthen the participation and access to media for civil society and community groups whose voice is underrepresented in the media landscape
– Raise awareness about the role and importance of Community Media for community reconciliation, social cohesion and intercultural dialogue
– Working with the relevant authorities, advocating the establishment of Community Media as ‘the third sector’ in the Cyprus media landscape
2) Empowering Civil Society with communications tools
In 2007, research conducted by communications for development expert Seán Ó Siochrú identified a need for strengthening civil society’s access to media production and dissemination channels. Despite the growth of the civil society sector since the late 1990s in Cyprus, he identified important gaps in the capacity of CSOs in getting their messages across to the wider public, mainly due a chasm between the sector and the mainstream media.
What they do:
– Champion social media as an alternative means of communicating with a wider audience
– Implement a comprehensive media skills training programme open to Cypriot civil society organisations
– Build links with local and international media organisations to promote creative and innovative media approaches in Cyprus
3) Facilitating Media Collaboration Across the Divide
The polarisation of the media landscape in Cyprus is one of the many facets of the division of the island. Historically the Cyprus media landscape has exemplified a high degree of exclusivity to its respective language community, particularly since the introduction of the printing press on the island. Academic studies of the Cyprus media have emphasised the divisive role it has played, emphasising differences instead of the commonalities between the island’s two main communities.
The importance of bringing together media professionals in conflict and post-conflict areas has been recognised as a necessary step to promote a culture of trust and understanding between communities. Broadening people’s perspectives and opening them up to information and ideas is an important prerequisite to a fully functioning democratic media, as well as fair and accurate information dissemination within and between communities.
What they do:
– Establish a platform for media collaboration, supporting sustainable partnerships between media through financial incentives, facilitation and mediation
– Strengthen professional collaboration between journalists by providing a forum for information exchange and skills development
– Promote the work of civil society as a resource for the media, and an example of best practice of intercommunal collaboration.