The International Press Institute (IPI) today condemned recent threats and cyber attacks against two Northern Cyprus newspapers following their reporting on a local businessman’s alleged links to drug trafficking and called on local authorities to ensure the safety of journalists.

Editors Pınar Barut of Özgür Gazete and Nuri Sılay of Gazedda Kıbrıs told IPI that they were targeted after covering allegations about Turkish-Cypriot businessman Halil Falyalı, which stem from an exiled Turkish mafia boss whose videos have riveted Turkey in recent weeks. Barut and Sılay said they received threats and phone calls, including from Falyalı himself, pressuring them to remove the stories.

“The recent threats against journalists in Northern Cyprus, which are aimed at silencing public interest news coverage, must be fully investigated”, IPI Turkey Programme Coordinator Renan Akyavas said. “IPI calls on the authorities in Northern Cyprus to protect journalists’ safety and ensure an environment in which journalists can report freely without fear or intimidation.”

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