On 7 May 2012 civil society organizations issued a press release condemning the May 2012 issue of the magazine TIME OUT for the advertising of cabarets and escort agencies. The press release was also filed as a public complaint with the Cyprus Media Complaint Commission (CMCC). Specifically the organizations stated that the May issue promotes and normalizes, both in content and in style, the sex industry in Cyprus including prostitution and acts associated with a host of criminal offences such as trafficking in human beings and the sexual exploitation of women.
Following carefully examination of the complaint, the CMCC adopted the position of the complainants. In its opinion, the Commission states that despite the position of TIME OUT magazine that claims that their intention was “not to endorse illegal and coercive activities of any kind” in practice “the magazine was an advertisement for establishments where it is generally widely known that trafficking in women takes place”.
The Commission decided that the May issue of Time Out magazine is in violation of the provisions of the Journalists Code of Ethics that obligates media and their representative to respect and “to promote… universal values…human rights and fundamental freedoms for all”. Furthermore, the Commission decided that the references to the national origin of women working in cabarets also constitutes a violation of the provision of the Code of Ethics for the prevention of discrimination on the grounds of, inter alia, a person’s ethnic origin and gender.
The organizations that filed the complaint wish to express their gratitude towards and satisfaction with the response of the CMCC and stress the significant role of the media in informing and raising awareness among the public on trafficking in women and sexual exploitation. In its efforts to show a liberal spirit on issues related to sex and sexual behaviour, the TIME OUT ‘Sex Issue’ perpetuates the sexual oppression of women.
The media have an obligation to act responsibly and reflect on the consequences of any publication.
Based on the above, we call on both TIME OUT magazine and DIAS group to encourage initiatives, in cooperation with civil society organizations, aimed at revealing the true picture in relation to women’s rights in Cyprus.
The decision of the CMCC can be found here in Greek.
To view the original press release and complaint click here.
The organizations that signed the press release and complaint to the CMCC:
- Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) www.medinstgenderstudies.org
- Cyprus Family Planning Organisation www.cyfamplan.org
- Socialist Women’s Movement
- Cyprus Gender Equality Observatory www.pik.org.cy
- Organization for Protecting Victims of Sexual Abuse & Exploitation – STIGMA
- Action for Equality, Support, Anti-Racism (KISA) – www.kisa.org.cy
- Hands Across the Divide – www.had.org.cy
- Cyprus Stop Trafficking
- Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family – www.domviolence.org.cy
- AIPFE Cyprus – www.apife.com
- Women’s Association Protoporia