TRNC Constitution | Article 24 – Freedom of Thought, Speech and Expression

North Cyprus, unlike the South, does not have to adhere to EU laws regarding Freedom of Speech. However, Article 24 of the TRNC Constitution – Freedom of Thought, Speech and Expression – does imply that it is not illegal to express an opinion, as Pauline Read does regularly. This may not be the opinion of some legal professionals, especially when Pauline’s opinions do not agree with their own. It appears that some of what Pauline says can be damaging to those involved. For example, by alleging that a Bank charged an interest rate of 80% per quarter on a loan would damage a Bank’s reputation if it were thought by readers that these rates were excessively damaging to those who were affected by them. In this case the damage from revealing this information would be as a result of the fact not the opinion. If these facts were incorrect then, of course, the Bank would get in touch with NCFP and immediately ask for them to be corrected. If the source of these facts were Cyprus Today, say, then as soon as that newspaper issued a correction then NCFP would follow suit. To leave these facts unchallenged would lead to the suspicion that a Bank did not believe that over 21 months, say, any damage could be done.

It has been said that some lawyers use the law as their personal whip, to keep people in line. I do not believe that. However, if someone held the opinion that a lawyer trying to suppress articles about the company they work for by issuing a writ, for example, was unethical, would that damage the lawyers reputation? Is it illegal in North Cyprus to say that someone was acting within the laws of a country and yet violated ethical principles. According to EU law:

Truth is an absolute defence to a claim for defamation. No one can prevent you from telling the truth, even if that truth harms someone else. Further, the statement of an opinion generally will not constitute defamation, since it is not offered as a statement of fact. For example, if a food critic states that a restaurant serves horrible food, that is not defamation since taste will always be an opinion.  Even if the restaurant brought 100 witnesses to court to attest that the food is wonderful, the critic is still entitled to his opinion.1


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