A buzz in the Buffer Zone

A buzz in the buffer zone
A new era in citizen journalism at the only inter-communal internet broadcasting facility in divided Cyprus. (Photo: CCMC)

Citizen journalism and internet broadcasting are bringing local communities in Cyprus into a new era with the launch of The Studio in Nicosia’s Buffer Zone by the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC). The multimedia studio will address the gap between civil society generated media and broadcasting.

The Studio at CCMC

  • The first intercommunal internet broadcasting facility in Cyprus
  • Multi-lingual broadcasting
  • Citizen journalism as a tool for peace building

The Studio marks a breakthrough in reaching wider audiences with community generated media through the internet. The Studio has already given life to two multi-media and internet radio websites - the EC funded MYCYradio (http://mycyradio.eu), and the UNDP-ACT funded “BufferBuzz” (http://www.bufferbuzz.org/). 

When CCMC first opened its doors in December 2009, the idea of citizen journalism and civil society having a voice in the mainstream media were both very new and idealistic concepts in Cyprus. The two separate media systems and the two different languages used in Cyprus further compounded the separation of the two communities. The Studio is now giving civil society in Cyprus the opportunity to produce and broadcast their own independent media.

Through this initiative there is a chance now for people to start creating a new narrative and take on a new approach to reconciliation in Cyprus.

There is an absence of community media legislation in Cyprus but CCMC is lobbying to change that which is why the opportunity to broadcast via the internet is so important.

The Studio will also seek to address the polarised media sectors on the island, by also encouraging journalists to get together, to create and collaborate on joint media products or broadcasts. It will be a place where people can receive technical media skills trainings in audio/visual productions, create their own messages and produce their own media content that highlights their efforts on several issues including peace and reconciliation.

Christopher Louise, UNDP-ACT Programme Manager said that this kind of facility is “crucial to transforming the psychology of division on this island”. It is also evidence that change can happen in Cyprus and that even a “frozen conflict” like the one in Cyprus can be shifted and challenged through initiatives that involve direct citizen engagement.

The Studio and its active use by civil society, will contribute to increased understanding and cooperation between the two communities. It is believed that this will contribute to the creation of new and alternative narratives on the Cyprus conflict and provide activists with a chance to promote their work to wider audiences.