Bridges towards Europe through social media conversations
Citizen participation in society, the freedom of expression and the right to information is one of the most basic elements of a democratic society. Especially in the times we live in, there is an increased need for civic participation by the citizens themselves, and need to listen to alternative voices from civil society than political parties. A feeling which, we believe, strongly diffused citizens lately.
So we read with surprise and concern the announcement by the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), dated May 29, according to which “interrupt any free relay and independent organizations, movements and groups beyond political parties and organizations associated with them ‘. “To continue,” notes the statement, “the broadcast of the announcements of these organizations’ should become subscribers ….”.
The Service, in short, is asking citizens and organized groups to buy their place in the public sphere … This decision gives us also a lot of questions and frustration, one can discern clearly that it is an arbitrary and unfair distinction between NGOs associated with political parties and independent civil society. CNA exclude the participation of organized groups in the public sphere, sets which belong to a society which rushed after the strict economic measures imposed in place to support our fellow citizens. Organizations which aim to positive change in our society such as Volunteer Doctors who are rushing to provide free health care to economically disadvantaged people, informal groups which act voluntarily in groceries, youth organizations and youth centers which not all can afford, so why not simply supported by public funds nor by European programs.
The action of these is newsworthy reporting in our humble opinion, and the CNA and other media to focus on the positive and complex dimension offer society during the crisis, and not only in parties and organizations associated with them. Paying double, affects detrimentally civil society, after all, democracy which nurtures on pluralism of views and more inclusive society.
We therefore urge the Board of CNA and all stakeholders to engage in a public debate on the issue. In 2013, the year dedicated to active citizens, it is unfair in our opinion on the altar of economic crisis and sacrificing democratic participation and expression. The Non-Governmental Organizations, however, rather arbitrarily, are willing to engage in a dialogue on this topic.
Republished from the original in Greek: The CNA is asking us to buy the position right to information By George Andrioti and Michalis Simopoulos CyprusNews.eu.