The news of of Natalie Christopher’s untimely death last week is one that hit hard among the community of people battling for the reunification of Cyprus. As a passionate believer in Cyprus, Cypriots, and this country’s reunification she was well valued and well liked by many people.

Here’s what I think: The State of the Media, Natalie Christopher, and the Cyprus Problem 1
Tom Cleaver

I’m not going to turn this into a eulogy, it’s far from being my place to do so, but I will reserve personal comment for the conduct of some people who call themselves “journalists” in the aftermath. The wild speculation which they engaged in as to the circumstances, creating fantastical and baseless rumours and publicising them without a second thought for the grieving is in my opinion a new low for journalistic standards in this country and in Greece. I’m not going to mention the names of the publications, nor will I repeat what they made up, but what I will say is that in a fair world every single “journalist” who put out that content would have been fired the morning after, and that I hope that at the very least they all feel deeply ashamed of themselves.

It is reflective of the sorry state of parts of modern tabloid and clickbait media that they most probably won’t be fired or feel ashamed. Vast swathes of content in modern times are produced in order to attract attention rather than to inform or educate. That is how you end up with large sections of society both here in Cyprus and all over the world who are woefully ill informed on current affairs: some of the most popular outlets produce content of which half is fabricated and rest is made up.

i guess forty people shouting “mongols” is much more newsworthy

Moving onto the cause itself, I was heartened on Thursday by the marches which took place in support of Cypriot reunification. It’s the largest march about the issue I’ve seen in a long time, certainly much larger than any of the blue-flag waving protests that all get twice as much coverage in the aforementioned media. I guess forty people shouting “mongols” at the north is much more newsworthy than many times that number advocating for peace.

It is one of the major problems which face supporters of reunification, that no matter what they do, large parts of the media will often take no notice because it is a lot less exciting than the aforementioned forty blue flag wavers threatening “the Turks” with genocide, from a safe distance of course.

However, Thursday was proof if we needed it that the section of society that vehemently supports the reunification of this island is here to stay, and here in number too. People of all ages and all backgrounds and from all parts of this island and beyond seemed to be there, and as I have already mentioned it is the largest protest I have seen on the issue for some time. Further to that the reminder wasn’t at all mistimed, as on Friday morning the two leaders Mustafa Akıncı and Nicos Anastasiades held their first personal meeting since the collapse of talks in Crans Montana two years ago.

at least it is a small yet tangible positive step

It is far too early at this point to get excited, or to hazard any guess at what, if anything, is going to happen as a result of this meeting and any further meetings they may have, but at least it is a small yet tangible positive step for the situation here; a reason to be cheerful or at the very least optimistic, if you will. There’s not an incredible amount to add to that at this stage; if and when talks develop, progress, or collapse they can be analysed, but given that at the current moment none of that has happened I’m not going to make stuff up, even though that seems like a high paying job these days.

Finally, to those celebrating the Kurban Bayram or Δεκαπενταύγουστο this week I wish all the best to you and your families. If I can navigate İstanbul’s new airport this afternoon I’ll be spending both of them with mine, and if I can’t I’ll be spending them both in İstanbul’s new airport. I’ll see you next week.

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