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Propaganda Example of the Month

It is the responsibility of a journalist to be able to distinguish propaganda from facts, but it is not always easy.

The tradition of propaganda has a long and rich history. The roots of the word come from 'propagate', which means to spread or disseminate. The best definition of the word is "the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist."

Propaganda is generally an appeal to emotion rather than intellect, and there is scant attention paid to whether the statement is factual or not. The element of mass media is a key factor, as the effect of propaganda is magnified through the television lens, and multiplied through newspapers or magazines. Finally, in the case of an article published in a newspaper that promotes the interests of a movement or group, it should be made clear to the reader that the message is paid for by that group.

In the interests of highlighting the role propaganda plays in Cyprus' mass communications, will take a look at Propaganda Example of the Month, and please note that the examples chosen will be from any organisation which has access to the mass of people through a media channel. The choices made will be unbiased and based on the definition of propaganda above.

For December 2009, the best example of propaganda we could find was found on the Turkish-Cypriot administration's official website. Huseyn Ozgurgun, the Turkish-Cypriot administration's foreign minister, called on President Demetris Christofias to apologise for his remarks that he hoped that the flag painted onto the side of Pendadaktylos mountain will be removed in 2010 in the context of a reunification agreement.

"We are doing whatever we can in order to remove the flag of the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime on Pentadaktylos Mountain range, to see Cyprus reunited and allow the people to breath the air of freedom and friendship along with the Turkish Cypriots,” said Christofias in his Christmas wishes to the Cypriot people.

In reply, Huseyn Ozgurgun said: “Hristofias and those who assume that the Turkish Cypriot people’s flag will one day taken down from the sky, should know and accept that the Turkish Cypriot people will never give up his freedom, sovereignty, rights and flag. Ozgurgun stated that it was impossible to believe that the Greek Cypriot leadership, which cannot even endure the Turkish Cypriot People’s flag, that is his most honorable and valuable symbol, had the goal of reaching a just and sustainable settlement in Cyprus."

In our opinion, as an example of emotional and nationalist expression that has little basis in fact, it is unparalleled this month. Do you agree or disagree? Send an email to or post a comment if you are one of our subscribers.

Have an example of propaganda of your own? Send it in to us by emailing

Illustration by designer Shepard Fairey

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