GUEST POST: CCMC posts on this week’s National Media Encounter, co-organised by Media Against Racism in Sport

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At the beginning of this month, Peace Exchange had looked ahead to the four-day National Media Encounter that is currently being organised by the Cyprus Community Media Centre and the Media Against Racism in Sport (MARS) network.

The event kicked off in the Buffer Zone on Wednesday, and will culminate this Saturday. Its objective is to offer Cyprus media professionals exposure to media cross-practices in training, ethics and production, thereby fostering an inclusive approach to media content creation.

Peace Exchange is delighted to have Michael Simopoulos of Peace it Together network member CCMC, post on the event in his own words:

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Michael Simopoulos: “The discussions taking place at the Cyprus Community Media Centre this week around racism and exclusion in sport could not be more relevant. The cases of Premier League footballers Luis Suarez and John Terry which hit the headlines in the British press in recent weeks, have reignited a discussion that many thought was buried in the past. Namely: how widespread and deep-rooted is racism in UK sport?

“Speaking during the opening plenary discussion of the MARS – Media Against Racism in Sport National Media Encounter (on Wednesday, January 25), Nikos Trimikliniotis, a researcher at the University of Nicosia, brought the discussion into a local perspective.

“‘When we talk about racism and discrimination in Cyprus, we are talking about problems of society at large,’ he said. ‘Their manifestation in sport, or activities on the periphery of sport, is part of a wider societal problem that the relevant authorities need to address.’

“Coşkun Ulusoy, one of the few footballers who can claim to have plied his trade across the whole of Cyprus, agreed. ‘The challenge we face is changing people’s minds and attitudes,’ he noted.

“Despite losing one of the keynote speakers in Karolina Pelendritou to a training injury the day before the encounter, the Cypriot Paralympian gold medalist set the tone during Wednesday’s discussion with her own perspective on discrimination in the sporting arena.

“In response to a question sent to her over email as to why there is disproportionate treatment of disabled and able-bodied athletes, she pointed out that ‘having enjoyed preferential treatment for a disabled athlete, I wonder how much the status of disability in Cyprus would change if the movement for disabled sports was given appropriate coverage by the media’.

“MARS is a programme developed by the Council of Europe to examine how the media can respond to the challenge laid down by Karolina, and the last few days the CCMC Community Space has been a hub of activity.

“With the cross-production workshop drawing to a close on Saturday, January 28, journalists and civil society activists have been working in pairs to produce media that truly reflects the diversity of sporting activities, approaches and perspectives that characterise a modern society.

“With the able support of representatives of the Council of Europe and the Community Media Forum Europe, participants have been tackling issues ranging from football fan culture, to the ability of basketball to promote intercultural dialogue and fair play.

“In fact, the success of the programme, thus far, has strengthened our belief at CCMC that with every such activity we are moving closer towards one of our goals – to build an inclusive and diverse information society.

“For more information on how to get involved with MARS activities, check out the website at: www.coe.int/mars, or contact CCMC at info@cypruscommunitymedia.org.”

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The Peace Exchange thanks Michael for posting on this week’s National Media Encounter and looks forward to more such opportunities to host you – the members of the Peace it Together network – in sharing about your events, developments and personal insights from the peace building scene in Cyprus.

That’s all for this time, but we’ll be back with more good stuff soon.

Have a great weekend and… see you in the next post!

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