Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have called for the acquittal of two Turkish Cypriot journalists who are facing five years in prison if convicted of insulting and defaming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“We urge the court to acquit Şener Levent and Ali Osman Tabak because convicting these two journalists would be a grave error and would send an extremely negative signal to the media in the northern part of Cyprus”, said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s European Union and Balkan desk.
Şener Levent, editor of Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Afrika’, and Ali Osman Tabak, a journalist working for the newspaper, are being tried for publishing, first on social networks and then in print, a cartoon deemed to be offensive to Turkey’s President Erdoğan. The cartoon had been first published in the Greek Press.
The charges relate to defaming and insulting the Turkish leader and “inciting hatred against a foreign leader with the aim of spoiling the friendly and peaceful relations between the two countries”.