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Abstract and Figures

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been largely absent from dominant social debates in Cyprus. In a socially conservative country, with prevailing heteronormative and patriarchic norms, discussion around issues of sexuality in general and sexual orientation in particular, has been taboo. This has resulted in a lack of visibility and meaningful social and media debate around LGBT people and issues that concern them (Tryfonidou, 2017). From 2010 onward issues of discrimination and harassment towards LGBT started becoming increasingly discussed in the public arena. Relevant legal developments, accelerated by the 2004 Republic of Cyprus’s (RoC) accession into the European Union (henceforth EU) and by the pioneering of the LGBT NGO called ACCEPT, led to more visibility of LGBT issues in the public sphere (Phellas, Kapsou, Epameinonda, 2014), reflected also in increasing media attention (Kapsou, Christophi & Epaminonda, 2011). Events such as the Pride Festivals from 2014 onwards, contributed significantly in promoting public attention around LGBT issues. Despite these important developments, the social debate remains limited and polarized and is frequently driven by statements of important public figures, and predominantly by Church representatives. These figures often promote a representation of same-sex relationships as highly deviant, abnormal and problematic and thus contribute to an ongoing marginalization and discrimination of LGBT people. The social climate around LGBT issues also reflects that there is room for improving social acceptance and respect of LGBT rights (European Commission, 2015) while there are still pressing legal issues to be addressed (Tryfonidou, 2017). Although academic attention around these issues has increased significantly during the last few years (i.e. Kamenou, 2012; Onoufriou, 2009; Phellas, 2005), there is still need for scientific, empirically grounded research. Our aim in this report is to provide an empirically-grounded examination of the ways that media represent LGBT related issues, by focusing on newspaper content. This report, although descriptive of the media content on LGBT issues, still aims to contribute to a more critical debate around the role of mainstream media on Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015 9 how LGBT communities are perceived. The report begins with an introduction consisted of two sections, the first gives information on the research project Re.Cri.Re. and the second provides basic background information on the study’s context (legal developments, attitudes, the Church on LGBT issues, experiences, media in relation to LGBT people). The methodology chapter that follows describes the steps undertaken for the completion of the research reported. The chapters of the results provide the reader with descriptive information first on general patterns of reporting of LGBT issues and second in particular on the newspapers coverage of the 2015 Civil Union Law (henceforth CU law). The report ends with some basic conclusions and shares ideas for future wok in the field.
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1
A descriptive analysis between 2011 and 2015
Editors: Irini Kadianaki, Elisavet Panagiotou, Maria Avraamidou
Research team: Irini Kadianaki, Elisavet Panagiotou,
Maria Avraamidou, Marianna Pagkratidou, Maria Ioannou
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL
& TRANSGENDER
CONTENT IN
GREEK-CYPRIOT
NEWSPAPERS
2
This project has received funding from the European Union’s
Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant
agreement 649436.
For more information about the research program
visit Re.Cri.Re. website at www.recrire.eu.
If you are interested about the specific study and its findings
you can contact the scientific coordinator Dr. Irini Kadianaki
at kadianaki.irini@ucy.ac.cy and at tel: +35722892063.
3
Recommended citation: Kadianaki I., Panagiotou E., Avraamidou,
M., Pagkratidou, M. & Ioannou, M. (2018).
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender content in Greek-Cypriot
newspapers: A descriptive analysis between 2011 and 2015.
Nicosia: University of Cyprus.
Available at: http://www.recrire.eu/documents/
Nicosia
April 2018
4
Irini Kadianaki is an Assistant Professor of Social
Psychology at the Department of Psychology,
University of Cyprus. She has received a BA in
Psychology from the University of Athens and an MPhil
and a PhD in Social and Developmental Psychology
from the University of Cambridge, UK. In her research
she studies social representations of groups that are
frequent targets of stigmatization and discrimination
(i.e. migrants, LGBT, people diagnosed with mental
illness) and the identity of people belonging in these
groups.
Elisavet Panagiotou holds BA in Psychology from
University of Cyprus and a MSc program in Social
and Cultural Psychology at LSE, Department of
Psychological and Behavioral Science with research
interests in intergroup relations and dietary and
moral dilemmas. She is currently working as a research
assistant for the Re.Cri.Re project.
Maria Avraamidou holds a PhD in Communication
and Internet studies, Department of Communication
and Internet Studies, Cyprus University of Technology.
She is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of
Psychology. Her main research interests revolve around
media, journalism and migration and the media/
nationalism nexus.
Short biographical notes
5
Marianna Pagkratidou holds a B.Sc. in Education
Sciences in Early Childhood at Democritus University
of Thrace and a Master’ s degree in Cognitive and
Educational Psychology from the University of Cyprus.
She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University
of Cyprus. Her research interests are in the field of
Cognitive and Experimental Psychology and her focus
is on the study of human spatial memory.
Maria Ioannou holds a DPhil in Experimental
Psychology, University of Oxford, in 2014, and is
currently working as a Tutor at the University College
Groningen, University of Groningen. Her research
interests lie in the area of intergroup relations and
more specifically intergroup contact’s contribution to
conflict resolution.
6
This project has received funding from the
European Union’s Horizon 2020 research
and innovation programme under grant
agreement No 649436
7Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
1. Introduction 8
1.1. A note on the Re.Cri.Re project 9
1.2. A note on the background 10
2. Methodology 15
2.1. Step 1 Formation of data corpus 16
2.2. Step 2 Quantitative descriptive analysis 17
2.3. Step 3 Qualitative analysis: Civil Union law 19
3. General visibility, topics and trends of LGBT issues in the press 20
4. The coverage of Civil Union law 26
4.1. General trends in the coverage of Civil Union law 26
4.2. Qualitative analysis: Arguments in favour and against civil union 29
4.2.1. Arguments in favor of the Civil Union law and related matters 30
4.2.2. Arguments against the Civil Union law and related matters 31
5. Discussion and ways forward 34
6. References 38
7. Annexes 40
Contents
8
1. Introduction
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been largely absent from
dominant social debates in Cyprus. In a socially conservative country, with
prevailing heteronormative and patriarchic norms, discussion around issues of
sexuality in general and sexual orientation in particular, has been taboo. This
has resulted in a lack of visibility and meaningful social and media debate
around LGBT people and issues that concern them (Tryfonidou, 2017).
From 2010 onwards issues of discrimination and harassment towards LGBT
started becoming increasingly discussed in the public arena. Relevant legal
developments, accelerated by the 2004 Republic of Cyprus’s (RoC) accession
into the European Union (henceforth EU) and by the pioneering of the LGBT
NGO called ACCEPT, led to more visibility of LGBT issues in the public sphere
(Phellas, Kapsou, Epameinonda, 2014), reflected also in increasing media
attention (Kapsou, Christophi & Epaminonda, 2011). Events such as the Pride
Festivals from 2014 onwards, contributed significantly in promoting public
attention around LGBT issues.
Despite these important developments, the social debate remains limited
and polarized and is frequently driven by statements of important public
figures, and predominantly by Church representatives. These figures oen
promote a representation of same-sex relationships as highly deviant,
abnormal and problematic and thus contribute to an ongoing marginalization
and discrimination of LGBT people. The social climate around LGBT issues
also reflects that there is room for improving social acceptance and respect of
LGBT rights (European Commission, 2015) while there are still pressing legal
issues to be addressed (Tryfonidou, 2017).
Although academic attention around these issues has increased significantly
during the last few years (i.e. Kamenou, 2012; Onoufriou, 2009; Phellas, 2005),
there is still need for scientific, empirically grounded research. Our aim in this
report is to provide an empirically-grounded examination of the ways that
media represent LGBT related issues, by focusing on newspaper content. This
report, although descriptive of the media content on LGBT issues, still aims to
contribute to a more critical debate around the role of mainstream media on
9Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
how LGBT communities are perceived.
The report developed as part of a wider research activity undertaken
by Assistant Professor Irini Kadianaki, at the Department of Psychology,
University of Cyprus (UCY) under a Horizon 2020 project entitled
Representations of the Crisis, Crisis of the Representations (Re.Cri.Re).
Under the same project, the UCY team has also published a report on the
migration/media nexus (Avraamidou et al, 20171) and academic articles in
international journals (e.g. Kadianaki et al., in press).
The report begins with an introduction consisted of two sections, the first
gives information on the research project Re.Cri.Re. and the second provides
basic background information on the study’s context (legal developments,
attitudes, the Church on LGBT issues, experiences, media in relation to
LGBT people). The methodology chapter that follows describes the steps
undertaken for the completion of the research reported. The chapters of
the results provide the reader with descriptive information first on general
patterns of reporting of LGBT issues and second in particular on the
newspapers coverage of the 2015 Civil Union Law (henceforth CU law). The
report ends with some basic conclusions and shares ideas for future wok in
the field.
1.1. A note on the Re.Cri.Re project
Re.Cri.Re is a HORIZON 2020 funded research project that aims to
understand social identity change within European societies, considering
that social identity influences the impact of policies, particularly at times of
crisis. This entails analysing cultures of European societies and the impact of
the socioeconomic crisis on them, to frame better policies at local, national
and European level. To this end, civil society, policy-makers and academics
within the field of social sciences come together and contribute to the various
Re.Cri.Re. actions. Overall, the project envisions providing suggestions for
improving the efficiency of policies for a positive post-crisis scenario. To
this end, sixteen Universities and Research Centers, covering 13 European
countries, are set to work together between May 2015 and May 2018. For
more information see project website: http://www.recrire.eu/. Research
1 The said report is available online here at http://www.recrire.eu/documents
10
Kick off meeting of Re.Cri.Re. team at Mesagne, Italy in June 2015
presented here derived from the work package three (3) of the program:
Multilevel Analysis of the Symbolic Universes, which in Cyprus focused on
the study of media representations of migration/migrants and the LGBT
community. Research partners across Europe chose to focus on one or more
of the 9 topics of the project (e.g., solidarity, democracy, Europe, Islam).
1.2. A note on the context
The rights and representations of LGBT people in Cyprus is an arena where
major changes have occurred during the last 20 years. Cyprus moved from
the decriminalization of male-to-male consensual sex in 1998 to adopting
the CU law in 20152, which, while gender-neutral it also granted the right to
same sex couples to legalize their partnership. Nevertheless, transgender
people remain today still outside the legal regime since, apart from the Hate
Speech law and the Refugee law (Tryfonidou, 2017), no other legal provisions
are made for them. The public opinion on LGBT issues also shows some signs
of a shi towards more acceptance in some areas, over the years, such as
approval of same-sex marriage or feeling comfortable with public display of
affection among gay and lesbian people (European Commission, 2006; 2008;
2 http://www.moi.gov.cy/moi/crmd/crmd.nsf/All/
D6580C099656A06EC2257F53003CA640?OpenDocument
11Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
2012; 2015). Nevertheless, Cyprus still holds one of the last places (i.e. 30th
out of 49) in the International Lesbian and Gay Association’s (ILGA) ranking
of European countries implementation of laws and policies that have a direct
impact on LGBTI rights (ILGA-Europe, 2017) and discrimination against LGBT
people remains widespread (FRA, 2013) particularly against transgender
persons. Relevant actors recognize a number of pressing legal issues that
need to be addressed and note that certain sectors, such as education,
health and employment, would greatly benefit from targeted interventions
of promoting awareness over issues of sexual orientation to combat
discrimination. Media have also played a dominant role over the years in
framing LGBT issues (Kapsou, Christophi & Epaminonda, 2011) through their
reporting or lack of it.
Legal claims and developments. The decriminalization of (male) same sex
relationships in the 1980s and the 2015 CU law are the two major legal
developments that took place during the last 20 years, altering the ways that
LGBT issues are discussed in society but also the everyday life of the LGBT
community in Cyprus. Decriminalisation was achieved following the appeal
of a prominent rights activist, Alecos Modinos against the Republic of Cyprus
to the European Commission of Human Rights (Modinos v. Cyprus 15070/89).
Although the case opened in 1989, it took 4 years for Modinos to win his
appeal and another 5 years for the decision of the court to be implemented
amid severe opposition by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus.
In general, LGBT activism has played a central role in legal developments.
From the 1980s up until 2000, LGBT activism took place primarily through
the Cyprus Gay Liberation Movement, led by Modinos, which gave its way to
ACCEPT LGBT Cyprus, founded in 2010. The claims changed over the years,
from decriminalization being the main issue back in the 1980s and 1990s, to
combating homophobia on the basis of sexual orientation, raising awareness
towards LGBT rights and promoting legal rights being prominent issues in
2000s and particularly since 2010. ACCEPT has facilitated increasing visibility
of LGBT issues since 2010 with the organization of the first Pride festival
being one of the most prominent events in that respect. It took place in 2014
in Nicosia, supported by the Municipality, the European Commission and the
European Parliament, and reportedly gathered around 5.000 individuals.
The CU law was voted at the end of 2015 (39 MPs voted in favor, 12 against,
and three abstained), and in the first months of 2016 several same-sex
couples registered (ILGA-Europe, 2017). The same year another important
12
legislation followed, which introduced legal penalties for homophobic
and transphobic rhetoric. Yet, the European Commission against Racism
and Intolerance (ECRI, 2016) notes that there is still room for more legal
developments, such as the alignment of the penalties for homo/transphobic
speech with penalties for racially motivated speech and the amendment of
the legislation for gender changes of transgender people so that surgery is
not a requirement of gender change.
Attitudes towards LGBT. Special Eurobarometer findings (European
Commission, 2006;2008; 2012; 2015) suggest that the percentage of people
in Cyprus that believe that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
is widespread has remained high and stable between the years 2006-2012
(around 74%). In 2015 a 67% agreed that gays and lesbians should have the
same rights as heterosexual people, but this percentage dropped when
they were specifically asked about same-sex marriage being legalized across
Europe, for which only 37% agreed. Nevertheless acceptance of same-sex
marriage has increased significantly from 2006 (14%). Having a gay politician
at the highest elected position has also found more support over the years
(15% being comfortable with this scenario in 2008 and 33% in 2015). Yet,
when asked about having a son or a daughter in a same-sex relationship,
only a 13% stated being at ease in 2015. It is indicative that in the same
year, a 40% of people thought that there is nothing wrong with same sex
relationships and a 26% felt comfortable with homosexual public displays of
affection (i.e. kissing, holding hands) versus a 57% feeling comfortable with
such displays by heterosexual people.
Smaller research projects confirm these findings, showing for example that
the majority of people do not feel comfortable with their children being
taken care of by a homosexual babysitter or having a gay or lesbian teacher
(Research Center of Cyprus College, 2006). The same research shows lack of
close relationships with homosexual people (69% had only an acquaintance
who is homosexual) and lack of willingness for their children to have
homosexual friends.
Overall, studies show that there is some recognition that LGBT people are
frequent targets of discrimination and that they deserve to be treated
equally. Also, they show some increase of acceptance of LGBT people being
public figures (i.e. holding high political positions). Nevertheless, attitudes
remain unfavorable when they concern issues that are closer at home (i.e.
having a gay or lesbian child).
13Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
The Orthodox Church and the LGBT community. A predominant perception
in Cypriot society is that LGBT people are a threat to heteronormative family
life, which is largely influenced by Christian orthodox values (Trimikliniotis &
Demetriou, 2008). Notably, the Church exerts significant influence on issues
of sexuality and family life in Cyprus (Peristianis, 2004) diffusing ideas that
homosexuality is immoral and a sin through its preaching and through the
control it exercises in education matters. The Church of Cyprus has voiced its
unfavorable stance with a strong public opposition to decriminalization back
in the late 1980s to the disapproval of the CU law in 2015 and continues to
voice its opposition to homosexuality frequently in various social debates
oen using discriminatory language against gay and lesbian people3.
The influence of the Church’s stance on people’s views has not been studied
systematically. One example is Kouta’s and Raopoulos’ (2010) research that
showed how adolescents’ attitudes about sexuality and sexual health were
influenced primarily by norms of the Church. Specifically, contraception was
perceived as a sin and Church was regarded as having an important role in
sexual education. Self-perceptions of LGBT people are also influenced by the
Church’s stance. For examples, difficulties in self-acceptance, feelings of social
disapproval and guilt are common experiences linked to the influence of the
Church (Kapsou, Christophi & Epaminonda, 2011).
Experiences of discrimination of LGBT people. There is lack of evidence-
based research regarding the experiences of LGBT people in Cyprus (ECRI,
2016) but limited existing research reflects the social climate described above.
Specifically, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, LGBT
survey (FRA, 2013) shows that a high percentage of LGBT people in Cyprus
(57%), felt they have been discriminated or harassed on the basis of their
sexual orientation and this percentage is the highest in Europe concerning
such experiences in the employment sector (30%). Further research from the
employer’s perspective confirms existing bias towards LGBT in employment
(Drydakis, 2014). Experience of discrimination towards LGBT people at school
is again the highest in Europe, reaching as high as 97% (FRA, 2013). Men are
more frequent targets of physical attacks than women (Kapsou, Christophi &
3 Ιn several occasions the Head of the Greek Orthodox Church was accused for using hate
speech prompting ACCEPT-LOAT to file official complaints against him. See: http://dialogos.
com.cy/blog/episimi-epistoli-accept-lgbt-cyprus-ston-g-isangelea-gia-ton-archiepiskopo/
14
Epaminonda, 2011). Several factors lead people not to report these incidents
of discrimination and harassment to the authorities, such as fear, shame and
lack of trust to these authorities (Kapsou, Christophi & Epaminonda, 2011)
Thus, evidence of concealment of sexual orientation come as no surprise
(Trimikliniotis & Demetriou, 2008; Kapsou, Christophi & Epaminonda, 2011).
Notably, the 2013 FRA LGBT survey showed that 76% of LGBT people
in Cyprus, have concealed, completely or most of the times, their sexual
orientation before the age of 18 (FRA, 2013). Concealment is high in the
workplace, especially for those who work with children or teenagers (Kapsou,
Christophi & Epaminonda, 2011)
LGBT issues in the Cypriot media. Research regarding the Cypriot media
and LGBT issues is ver y limited and consists of one study that examined
content regarding LGBT issues (Kapsou, Christophi & Epaminonda, 2011)
in three newspapers for a three-year period (i.e. 2008-2010). It noted an
increase of articles referring to LGBT issues over the years, most obvious in
2010. It also noted that throughout the years articles focused increasingly on
the local context and less on the international. Both these findings show a
trend towards more engagement with the issue at a more immediate, local
level. At the same time, they noted an increase in the number of opinion-
expressing articles, which shows media engagement with the issue also
through argumentation, personal views rather than simply stating facts. It
concluded that overall newspapers covered in a neutral or positive stance
on LGBT issues and that with the years passing, negative articles decreased.
Finally, a general absence of political opinions and positions throughout the
period studied was noted, evidence of the lack of political debate over the
issue between 2008-2010.
Regarding the presentation of same-sex marriage, Kapsou and colleagues
(Kapsou, Christophi & Epaminonda, 2011) found that articles positioned
against it framed the issue as being against nature and moral standards and
as leading to serious but unknown consequences. Some articles refrained
from expressing a clear, personal stance towards the issue with the claim
that the Cypriot society was not yet ready for such a development. Finally,
favorable articles framed the issue as a legal and human rights issue.
15Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
2. Methodology
This report first presents a descriptive analysis of how the Greek-Cypriot
Press addressed issues of the LGBT community in general between 2011 and
2015 and second it focuses specifically on how it addressed the 2015 CU law.
The methodological approach is both quantitative, presenting a descriptive
statistical analysis and qualitative, analysing the meanings that appeared in
the newspapers regarding the issues at hand.
The focus is on newspaper articles published between the second half of July
2011 to the end of December 20154 in four daily Greek- Cypriot newspapers
of the time: Haravgi, Politis, Fileleheros, Simerini. The newspapers represent
different standpoints of the political spectrum and are part of larger media
organizations. Haravgi is a le-wing newspaper affiliated with the political
party AKEL and part of the Dialogos media group, Politis is characterized by
liberal views particularly on economy, Fileleheros is the oldest Greek-Cypriot
newspaper part of Fileleheros Media Group with the largest circulation not
aligned to a specific party but found to be pro-government with exceptions,
Simerini is a right-wing newspaper and part of DIAS media group. Cypriot
media hold strong ties with political parties and/or the government and take
clear positions towards major issues, framing them accordingly. To identify
data on the topic of concern in the selected newspapers the following
keywords were used: homosex-, gay (in Greek and in English), lesb- and
LGBT- 5. The Cypriot company Matrix Media collected all the articles that
contained these keywords in the aforementioned newspapers.
4 The period of focus was defined based on the availability of the searchable electronic media
archives in Cyprus and on criteria set by the Re.Cri.Re project. Throughout the report, data
referring to 2011 refer only to the second semester of 2011 and not the whole year. This is
also marked with an asterisk (*) following “2011”. Matrix Media company, a media monitoring
company, collected electronically all data under the guidance of the research team.
5 Keywords in Greek: Ομοφυλ-, γκέι, gay, λεσβ-, ΛΟΑΤ-.
16
The following methodological terms are used in this report:
Data corpus refers to all articles, containing at least one of the keywords,
collected throughout the reporting period from all the newspapers studied.
Quantitative data set refers to all the articles analysed for the purposes of
the quantitative descriptive analysis.
Qualitative data set refers to all the articles analysed for the purpose of the
qualitative analysis.
Extract refers to a part of an article.
The analysis was conducted in three steps: 1) collection of relevant articles
(data corpus), 2) quantitative descriptive analysis and 3) qualitative analysis
on CU law content (see Figure 1).
2.1. Step 1 Formation of data corpus
All articles collected by the company were thoroughly read by the research
team and the non-relevant6 ones were excluded. This resulted to a data corpus
consisted of a total of 603 articles: 49 articles for 2011*; 110 articles in 2012; 103
articles in 2013; 116 articles in 2014; and 225 articles in 2015 (see Table 1).
Table 1. Number of articles per year on LGBT issues.
6 Non-relevant articles were articles that although were included in the sample, they did not
contain any of the keywords but were included in the sample by mistake.
A. Data Corpus
All articles published in
the four newspapers
during the reporting
period containing
at least one of
the keywords.
B. Quantitative
Data Set
All articles from data
corpus published
between 2012
to 2015.
C. Qualitative
Data Set
All articles of the data
corpus containing
words relevant
to the Civil
Union law.
Figure 1. Main research steps
Year Articles Percentage
2011* 49 8.1
2012 110 18.2
2013 103 17.1
2014 116 19.2
2015 225 37.3
Total 603 100
17Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
2.2. Step 2 Quantitative descriptive analysis
Quantitative descriptive analysis aimed at illustrating the visibility of LGBT
topics in general and of the CU law coverage in particular in each newspaper,
identifying journalistic patterns of coverage and the topics of coverage.
Specifically, for the visibility of the LGBT issues, it posed the following
questions
What was the numerical distribution of articles across time and newspaper?
What was the focus (i.e. local/global) of the articles and how did it change
across years?
What genres of articles (i.e. news or opinion) were written and how did they
change across years?
How prevalent were LGBT matters (i.e. primar y/secondary) in the data and
how did this change across years?
What motivated authors to write about LGBT matters across the years?
To undertake the analysis, we coded each article into a set of variables.
Specifically, the article was coded according to the following (see Annex I for
detailed description):
Focus: whether it concerned national/local matters of the LGBT community in
Cyprus (including those referencing the occupied north) or global/international
issues. Mixed articles covered both international and national issues.
Journalistic genre: type of the article, whether it is a news article, covering
or informing about facts (hard and/or so news articles) or an opinion
article/commentary conveying the author’s views or the newspaper’s stance
(editorials) on a topic.
Prevalence of issue: whether an LGBT matter was the primary topic of the
article, a secondary or if only a mere reference to one of the keywords was
made.
Motivation for writing: reason prompting the article. The motivations of
the articles were coded into broad categories e.g. cultural events, political
developments (see Annexes I and III):
Civil Union law: articles with a reference to the CU and related matters (i.e.
marriage).
The quantitative analysis consisted of descriptive statistical analysis of
frequencies of the variables and further cross-tabulations and was conducted
with the aid of SPSS.20 soware. Frequencies aimed at providing an overall
18
idea of the distribution of articles within each variable and were based on
the data corpus (N=603 articles). Cross-tabulations looked for the relation of
the variables with the year of publication thus enabling to identify significant
changes of patterns across time. Cross-tabulations were performed a) for
each of the above variables and their relationship with the year of publication
using parametric chi-square tests and b) for variable “year” of publication
and “newspaper” in which the articles were published separately using non-
parametric chi square test (detailed chi-square tests and cross-tabulations
are available upon request). Chi-square tests were deemed appropriate to
answer the research questions, given the categorical nature of the variables
(Field, 2013). Chi-square cross-tabulations were based on the quantitative
data set for the years 2012 to 2015, a total of 554 articles7.
For the visibility of the CU law and related issues we also conducted a
quantitative descriptive analysis. To form the data set of the CU law we
identified the articles that contained references to the CU law by using
relevant keywords (Civil Union and law, marriage, adoption8) to search
through the data corpus. This search resulted in 235 articles across the years.
In this analysis we were interested in answering the following questions:
What was the numerical distribution of articles regarding the CU law and
related issues across time and newspaper?
What was the focus (i.e. local/global) of the articles and how did it change
across years?
What genres of articles (i.e. news or opinion) were written and how did they
change across years?
How prevalent were issues around the CU law (i.e. primary/secondary) in
the data and how did this change across years?
What was the stance of the articles (positive/negative/unclear) and what was
the numerical distribution of the articles per stance, year and newspaper?
7 2011* data covered only the second half of the year thus were considered incomplete and
could not be used for the statistical tests as this would lead into misleading results.
8 Keywords in Greek: σύμφωνο, συμβίωσης, νόμος, γάμος, υϊοθεσία
19Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
2.3. Step 3 Qualitative analysis the of Civil Union law
The qualitative analysis focused on the CU law because it was a major legal
development for the LGBT community that took place during the time of
the research and it was also a dominant issue of concern for the newspapers
(see chapter 4). This analysis focused on 1. the ways that the newspapers
referred to the CU law and issues related to same-sex partnership and 2. the
arguments articles used to support or oppose to it.
In order to form the qualitative data set, out of the 235 articles that focused
on the CU law, we excluded the 142 news articles and focused on the 93
opinion articles. This is because opinion articles contained more information
regarding the stance of the author and usually more argumentation over
the issues of concern. Of the 93 articles, we excluded 6 articles that were
categorized as reference and proceeded with the analysis of 87 primary
and secondary articles, which had more detailed content for analysis. Of the
87 articles, 5 articles were either replicates of articles that appeared more
than once in different newspapers and were excluded from the analysis (see
Step 2 above). Thus, the qualitative data set consisted of 82 primary and
secondary articles that were further analyzed.
The qualitative data set of 82 articles was coded using ATLAS.ti soware
based on a qualitative coding guide developed from the data (see Annex II).
Specifically, each article was read and three different researchers identified
arguments in support of and against the CU. These arguments were then
assigned a code. A code is a descriptive label attached to a discrete idea that
appears in the data (Willig, 2013). Subsequently, codes were collated in order
to facilitate a thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006) that is, in identifying
the important themes of ideas that appeared in the data.
20
Numbers across years: Numbers of articles between 2011* and 2014 did not
change considerably but they doubled in 2015. Specifically, 49 articles were
published across the four newspapers during the second half of 2011*, 110
articles were published in 2012, 103 in 2013 and 116 articles in 2014. In 2015,
the four newspapers together published 225 articles, which represents a 94%
increase compared to articles published in 2014 (Figure 2)
A non-parametric chi-square test further confirmed this observation,
indicating a statistically significant difference in the number of articles
published per year, χ2 (3, Ν=554) = 72.64, p<.001), pointing to 2015 as being
different from the rest of the years. The increased media attention in 2015
can be attributed to the parliamentary discussions around the CU law and its
final voting, in November 2015 and the heated discussions between MPs and
archbishops’ statements around the topic during the same year.
Numbers across newspapers: For the reporting period, Haravgi published
25.9% of the articles of the data corpus; Fileleheros and Politis 29.5% each and
Simerini 15.1% of the articles (see Figure 3). The differences across newspapers
were found to be statistically significant, χ2 (3, N=554) = 29.78, p<.001, pointing
out at the difference between Simerini and the rest of the newspapers. Simerini
published less articles compared to the other three. The differences in numbers
between Simerini and the rest of the newspapers studied could be partly
attributed to its slightly smaller size. Nevertheless, Haravgi, also of smaller size,
3. General visibility, topics
and trends of LGBT issues in
the press
250
200
150
100
50
0
2011
8.1%
18.2%
17.1% 19.2%
37.3%
2012 2013 2014 2015
Figure 2. Number of articles per year across the four newspapers
21Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
did not exhibit these differences, which possibly points to a more significant
difference in the agenda of Simerini comparing to the other newspapers.
Articles in newspapers across the years: There was a statistically significant
relation between the year of publication of the articles and the newspapers
in which they were published, χ2 (9, N= 554)= 32.512, p<.001. (see Figure 4).
Haravgi demonstrated a stable increase of published articles across
years signifying that topics on the LGBT community were consistently
high in their agenda. Specifically, in 2014, it outnumbered the rest of the
newspapers while during 2015 its number of publications was similar to
that of Fileleheros and Politis.
Fileleheros demonstrated the biggest increase of articles from 2014 to 2015.
Simerini remained relatively stable across the years with a slight increase
from 2013 to 2014 and 2015.
Politis’ articles decreased significantly in 2014, but 2015 showed again an increase.
The increase of interest on LGBT issues in all newspapers can be attributed
to two significant events that took place during 2014 and 2015, namely the
1st and the 2nd Pride festivals in Cyprus and the voting of the CU law. They
were evidently both considered newsworthy.
Haravgi Politis Fileleheros Simerini
Figure 3. Number of articles per newspaper between 2012 & 2015
200
150
100
50
0
25.9%
29.5% 29.5% 15.1%
Figure 4. Number of articles per year and newspaper between 2012 & 2015
Haravgi Politis Fileleheros Simerini
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
16
27
44
67
43 38
20
56
16 13
25 29
35 25 27
73
2012 2013 2014 2015
22
Journalistic genre: Across the period studied and across the four newspapers,
366 news articles and 237 opinion articles were published. Further cross-
tabulation from articles published between 2012 and 2015, indicated a
statistically significant relation between journalistic genre and year, χ2 (3,
N=554) = 10.227, p<.05. This finding suggests that opinion articles increased
throughout the years, suggesting that authors engaged with the issue in a more
argumentative way, expressing their opinion rather than merely reporting
events. Specifically, in 2012, news articles composed 73.6% (Ν=81) and opinion
articles 26.4% (Ν=29) of the year’s sample. In 2015 however, news articles
composed 55.6% (Ν=125) and opinion articles 44.4% (Ν=100) (see Figure
5). Further, along with regular journalists, other key actors (e.g. politicians)
and people from the general public engaged with the issues by sending to
newspapers opinion articles and commentaries, aiming perhaps at influencing
forthcoming developments regarding the Pride festivals or the CU law.
Focus of articles: The vast majority of articles focused on local issues rather
than taking global angles to the topics of concern. Specifically, only 22.4%
percent of the data corpus engaged exclusively with international matters
of the LGBT community (global articles) while 62.5% focused exclusively on
national matters of the LGBT community (local articles). A percentage of
15.1% focused on both national and international matters (mixed articles)
(see Table 2). Local articles composed almost 2/3s of the data corpus and
outnumbered global articles by 242 articles suggesting that newspapers
engaged more with national LGBT matters rather than international.
Figure 5. Number of articles per journalistic genre between 2012 to 2015
News articles
160
140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
81
62
71
125
29 41 45
100
2012 2013 2014 2015
Opinion articles
23Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
Focus Number of articles Percentage
Global 135 22.4
Local 377 62.5
Mixed 91 15.1
Total 603 100
Further cross-tabulation of the focus of the article and year of publication,
based on the quantitative dataset indicated a significant relation between
the two variables, χ2 (6, N=554) = 68.677, p>001. Specifically, the number of
local articles increased significantly in years 2014 and 2015 when significant
national developments took place. In 2014, local articles consisted 75% of
the data set (N=87) and in 2015, 76.4% (N=172). Additionally, the numbers of
global articles in 2014 and 2015 fell from 40 articles in 2012 and 41 in 2013
to 23 in 2014 and 24 in 2015 (see Figure 6).
Prevalence of LGBT matters in each article: 384 articles (57.7%) were
primarily concerned with LGBT relevant topics, 96 of them (15.6%) had LGBT
relevant topics as a secondary topic of the article and 161 articles (26.7%)
contained only references to the keywords without discussing LGBT relevant
matters. Thus, of the articles containing LBGT related keywords the majority
were concerned primarily with LGBT issues.
Article motivation and topics overview. Overall, authors were prompted
to write on the basis of public discussions around different policies (25.87%),
statements by political figures (10 . 28%), statements by Church representatives or
religion relevant events (11.28%) and LGBT actions (10.12%). Rarely an author
would focus on a topic based on his/her own intuition.
Table 2. Number of articles per focus between 2011 and 2015
Figure 6. Number of articles per focus and year
2012 2013 2014 2015
200
150
100
50
0
46 40 24
50 41
12
172
24 29
87
23
6
Local
Global
Mixed
24
With regards to policies, articles covered the CU law discussions (51.3%,
that is 80 out of 156 articles) and legislations criminalizing homophobia.
Articles covered debates among politicians on the CU law, which featured
both homophobic messages and pro-LGBT statements, exemplifying the
controversy of the issue. They also referred to disputes that attracted
public attention, such as the dispute between the MPs Themistokleous and
Charalampidou9.
Statements by Church representatives also featured frequently, such as
the Church’s position on the Pride festival or the CU Law or provocative
statements by the Archbishop of Cyprus. The dispute between former MEP
and theologist, Andreas Pitsillides and the Church10 also featured widely in
the newspapers. Finally, articles motivated by LGBT activities and actions
mainly referred to events or actions organized by ACCEPT- LGBT Cyprus and
secondarily by other, grass-roots, informal groups.
Global news covered mostly same sex marriage and anti-homophobic or
homophobic policies abroad. Additionally, they covered positive statements
by the Pope on homosexuality.
The following Figure (7) demonstrates the distribution of the different types
of motivations identified across the data corpus across the reporting period
(see also Annex III).
9 They concerned an incident initiated by a sexist public statement of MP Themistokleous A. in
social media targeting MP Charalampidou E. (see Fileleheros, 2015 available here).
10 Pitsillides had publicly expressed positive opinions about homosexuality and support to
abortion and was finally excommunicated by the Church
Cultural events
Migration matters
Statements by Church representatives or religious
Discrimination incidents or facts
Politicians’ sexual orientation
Sensational/Celebrity news
HIV-AIDS relevant
LGBT organised actions
Policies
Statements by political figures
Incident relevant to prisons
Incidents relevant to prostitution and/or porn industry
Incidents relevant to schools and/or homophobic events
Science and Surveys
Social media and internet relevant incidents
Other
Figure 7. Distribution of Motivation categories across the data corpus (%)
8
4
4
2
2
10
10
1
1
3
5
1
10
26
1
11
25Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
Articles’ motivation and topics per year. In 2011*, a significant portion of
the articles were prompted by events involving politicians and their sexual
orientation (38.8%). Specifically, articles referred to the involvement of an
ex-Minister in a so-called sexual scandal in the occupied north, involving
a minor. Another significant portion of articles was motivated by cultural
events (24.5%), for example news pieces on movies portraying same-sex
couples. In 2012 articles covered politicians’ statements (17.3%) and policy
issues (19.1%) with regards to the regulation of Cyprus media in order to
eliminate discriminatory expressions towards LGBT population. Articles on
legal partnership rights in 2012 had an international focus and only limited
references to Cyprus. Regarding Cyprus, in 2012 newspapers covered or
commented provoking statements of Greek-Cypriot MPs arguing against
homosexuality and hosted opinions of public figures and/or organizations
regarding homosexuality. Internationally, attention was given to the US
presidential elections period, focusing on candidates’ statements and
actions regarding gender issues in general. In 2013 articles were primarily
motivated by policy issues (27.2%) and secondarily by statements of Church
representatives or religious related events (18.3%). In the same year, articles
concerning policies began orienting towards the CU law in Cyprus, while
international references to legal partnerships continued. Articles motivated
by statements of Church representatives or religious relevant events
were articles written because of Archbishop’s or Pope’s statements on
homosexuality and/or CU law therefore they had a local and an international
focus.
In 2014 beyond policy oriented articles that consisted 29.3% of that years’
publications, a big portion of articles concerned LGBT actions (25.9%) and
specifically the organization of the first Pride festival by Accept-Cyprus.
Finally, for the year 2015, 31.6% of the articles published were motivated by
policies (i.e. primarily regarding the CU law) and 13.8% by political figures’
statements, referring to provocative statements of MP Themistokleous and
the aforementioned dispute of Themistokleous and Charalampidou.
26
As noted in the Introduction, the CU law represents a major legal
development regarding LGBT rights. It was put into effect on the 9 of
December of 2015, with discussions in the press dating back in 2012 and
covering earlier dras and consultations. This study analyzed articles on the
specific legislation and related issues, such as marriage or adoption by LGBT
couples.
In order to understand the debate around these issues, descriptive
quantitative analysis was conducted followed by qualitative analysis. The
quantitative analysis demonstrated the patterns in the distribution of articles
per year and newspaper and per types of articles that appeared during the
period studied (i.e. local/global/mixed, opinion/news, primary/secondary/
reference) therefore giving the bigger picture on newspaper reporting on the
issue. The qualitative analysis concerns a thematic analysis of the content of
opinion articles exemplifying the arguments that these articles used both in
favor and against the CU of same-sex partners.
4.1. General trends in the coverage of Civil Union law
Number of articles. During the period studied 235 articles were published
in total in the four newspapers that concerned issues around the CU law,
marriage and generally same sex partnership. Out of the 235 articles, 142
were categorized as news reports and 93 as opinion articles.
It is notable that half of the articles (N=117) were written in 2015, which
demonstrates a sharp increase comparing to the previous years and
particularly 2011*, when only 3 articles appeared in total concerning the CU.
Most articles throughout the period studied were primarily concerned with
the CU law (see Figure 8).
4. The coverage of Civil Union law
27Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
Further, throughout the years articles tended to deal with the issues around the CU
law increasingly in the local context (see Figure 9), with a visible difference between
the years. Specifically, in years 2012 and 2013, the issues discussed were more or
less equally global and local but in 2014 and 2015, they were predominantly local.
Numbers per newspaper. With the exception of Simerini, all other
newspapers (Politis, Fileleheros and Haravgi) published almost exactly the
same amount of articles concerning issues around the CU law (see Table 3).
This difference between newspapers reflects the differences regarding the
reporting LGBT issues in general that was also noted earlier (see Figure 3).
Newspaper Number of Articles Percentage
Haravgi 63 26.8
Politis 66 28.1
Filelheros 67 28.5
Simerini 39 16.6
Total 235 100
Figure 8. Number of articles having the CU law as a primary topic,
a secondary or simply referencing it.
2011 2012 2013 2014
100
75
50
25
0
Primary
Secondary
Reference
2015
Figure 9. Number of articles with CU references in terms of focus per year
2011 2012 2013 2014
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
Global Local Mixed
2015
Table 3. Number of articles with CU references per newspaper
311 48
37
65
43
1
92
21
4
7
37
1
104
12
22 22
4
12 83
2 1
28
Opinion and news articles. 93 opinion articles were written in total around
the CU law throughout the years. Figure 10 illustrates how opinion articles
increased throughout these years. Although there were no opinion articles
in 2011* and very few in 2012, in 2013 19 were published, 18 in 2014 and 54
in 2015. This increase followed the onset of discussions around the prospect
of the legislation in 2013 and 2014 and the voting of the legislation in 2015.
This change in numbers, indicates that newspapers began to engage with the
issue argumentatively rather than simply stating facts through news articles.
Number of pro and against articles. Opinion articles that were either
categorized as primary or secondary (N= 87 articles) were further examined
as to identify their stance towards the CU law and related issues. Specifically,
articles were categorized into positive, negative and unclear. Unclear articles did
not contain any straightforward positive or negative stance towards the issue.
Of the total 87 primary and secondary articles, 5 were repeated articles
that appeared in different newspapers. Thus the remaining 82 articles were
Figure 10. Number of articles with CU references per journalistic genre and year
2011 2012 2013 2014
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
News Opinion
2015
Figure 11. Articles with a negative, positive or unclear stance per year
2012 2013 2014
45
30
15
0
Negative Positive Unclear
2015
3
29
19
26
18
63
54
21
2
13
14
77
4
41
5
29Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
distributed as follows: 14 had a negative stance, 63 had a positive and 5
were unclear. This finding demonstrates a clear support towards the issue
during the period studied. Figure 11 demonstrates how these categories were
distributed per year. It becomes evident that although in 2014 positive and
negative articles were equally distributed, in 2015, positive articles (N=41)
clearly outnumber the negative ones (N=4).
Figure 12 shows the same distribution per newspaper. Haravgi and Politis
published approximately the same amount of articles but Haravgi was
the only newspaper that published only positive articles with regards
to the CU law. Simerini published a very small number of articles on the
mater, compared to the rest. Although the negative articles are marginally
outnumbering the positive, the total number of articles is so small that it
does not permit safe conclusions regarding the difference between the two
categories. Fileleheros published fewer articles on the issue comparing to
Haravgi and Politis. Politis and Fileleheros had more positive than negative
articles. However Politis with the largest total number of articles on CU
law, had at least six times more positive than negative articles compared
to Fileleheros in which the positive articles are only twice the number of
negative ones.
4.2. Qualitative analysis: Arguments in favour and against civil union
This section presents the main arguments that authors formulated in favor
or against the CU law and/or related issues of LGBT partnership, marriage
and adoption. Figure 13 presents a summary of pro and anti partnership
themes of arguments, along with the three more abstract themes that both
categories of arguments fell into.
Figure 12. Articles with a negative, positive or unclear stance per newspaper
Haravgi Fileleheros Politis
30
20
10
0
Negative Positive Unclear
Simerini
22
1
7
14
2
4
25
232
30
4.2.1 Arguments in favor of the Civil Union law and related matters
Four themes of arguments that supported the CU law or related issues of
same-sex partnership were identified (see Table 4). These were: 1. Equality
of all against the law 2. Modernization of the state and social progress 3.
Respect and protection towards the freedom of personal choices of others 4.
Resolution of practical issues and needs of LGBT community.
Theme Main argument
1. Equality of all against the law Required legal amendment ensuring more
equality
2. Modernization of the state and social
progress
Significant step towards modernization,
Europeanization and social progress
3. Respect and protection towards the
freedom of personal choices of others
Protects and respects human dignity and
diversity
4. Resolution of practical issues and
needs of LGBT community
Provides a significant tool to LGBT people to
improve certain everyday life issues
Equality of all against the law
This theme presented the CU law as reparation of the existing violation of
human rights. The right to enter into CU under this law was presented as
a guaranteed human right, as a fundamental principle of a state of justice,
a sign of democracy and an integral part of the international bill of human
rights.
Rights • Morals • Progress
Pro-CU
Equality before the law •
Modernization/progress •
Personal freedom •
Ameliorates the life of LGBT people •
Anti-CU
• Discriminatory
• Unnecessary/reduntant
• Encourages immorality (religious or national)
• Encourages a deviant condition of the human
kind (unnatural)
• Threatens the existence of the nation and
the society
Figure 13. Summary of pro/anti arguments on the CU law
Table 4. Pro-CU law arguments
31Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
Modernization of the state and social progress
Under this theme, the law was presented as an indication of a successful
adaptation to new societal challenges and to a changing social reality. A
society that embraces such legislation was considered as a progressive
society that keeps pace with the principles of a civilized European society.
In this regard, the Cypriot state and the overall society, was criticized for
being backward in relation with other European states, for being culturally
backwards and conservative because of not having already legalized
civil partnership or for being skeptical towards the legislation. In this
theme, articles raised a fierce criticism towards the Church and Andreas
Themistocleous, a former DISY member of the parliament who opposed the
law, focusing on their conservative and discriminative stance towards the
LGBT community.
Respect and protection towards the freedom of personal choices
The right of entering a civil partnership or marriage was presented as a
private matter, a personal choice of people that the state and the society
should protect and respect. In this regard, articles also argued that adopting
the law was about respecting diversity. In both cases, articles recurrently
included calls for respect, tolerance, acceptance or love towards fellow
people who happened to have different sexual orientation than the majority.
Resolution of practical issues and needs of the LGBT community
This theme presented arguments that drew attention to practical issues and
challenges faced by same-sex couples and which could be resolved with a
CU law. These were both legal matters, such as issues of housing, inheritance,
pension and insurance but also everyday life issues, such as living openly,
without having to hide their sexual orientation and generally leading a
normal life. Interestingly, all these references appeared exclusively in 2015
and not earlier. This is probably because it was during 2015 that discussions
about the actual content on the provisions of the CU intensified.
4.2.2. Arguments against the Civil Union law and related matters
The articles that took a position against issues related to the CU used
arguments from within the following five themes: 1. Violating the rights
of other social groups, such as heterosexuals or children 2. Unnecessary
legislation: LGBT rights are protected by existing legislations that concern all
citizens 3. Immoral on the basis of violating Christian and national values 4.
32
Supporting an unnatural, abnormal human condition and 5. Threatening the
existence of the nation and the society (See Table 5)
In some articles the discussion over the CU and the rights of same-sex
couples was dismissed a priori because of not being among priority societal
issues (i.e. there were more important issues to discuss) or because the
Cypriot society was not ready to discuss issues like these.
Theme Main argument
1. Violation of rights of other social groups Discriminatory and unfair for heterosexuals
and children
2. Unnecessary legislation Rights already provided as every citizens’
rights
3. Preserves immorality on the basis of
religion or national values
Encourages values that go against Christian
or national ideals
4. Supports an unnatural, abnormal
condition of the human kind
Encourages deviant behavior contrary to
human nature
5. Threatens the existence of the nation
and society
Leads to the collapse of the family
institution and to birth deficit
Violation of rights of other social groups
This line of argument proposed that by granting LGBT people certain rights,
such as civil partnership, heterosexual people’s rights are violated. The LGBT
community was presented as asking for an excess of rights, over the rights
of the heterosexual majority and thus the CU law violated equality and
democracy.
Unnecessary legislation: LGBT rights are protected by existing legislations
that concern all citizens
In this theme, legislation was presented as a useless addition to existing
legislations. Securing LGBT rights was presented as an undue legislative act, as
rights of LGBT people are already covered as universal human rights. These
arguments diminished the need for such legislation by negating the existence
of inequality towards the LGBT community.
Preserves immorality on the basis of religion or national values
Constructing homosexuality as immoral was a common theme in the
arguments against the CU legislation. This immorality was sustained either
on the basis of Christian Orthodox religion or on the basis of national values
and ideals. Regarding the former, authors rejected homosexuality for being
Table 5. Anti-CU law arguments
33Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
a miasma, according to Christian Orthodox religion. Regarding the latter, the
ideals and morals of Cypriot people shaped by their proud ancestors, were
presented as being threatened and the ancestors as feeling ashamed for
their descendants. Under this theme homosexuality was also constructed as a
trend, an immoral act of exhibitionism.
Supports an unnatural, abnormal condition of the human kind
This theme, explicitly presented homosexuality as an unnatural or abnormal
condition of the human race. In this regard, LGBT people were constructed as
provocative, leading an abnormal life that diverges from the natural condition
of human beings.
Threatens the existence of the nation and the society
This last line of argument cautioned against granting the right to CU to LGBT
people, as this would threaten the existence of the nation. The possibility of a
same-sex union was linked to the birth deficit in the countr y and the collapse
of the institution of the family. Although the CU did not provide adoption
rights to same sex couples, authors in this theme argued that couple’s right to
adoption would jeopardize the rights and well-being of adopted children and
cause to the children psychological distress. Families of same-sex partners
were therefore constructed as absurd.
34
This report provided an overview of media content on LGBT issues in four
newspapers between 2011 and 2015. It exemplified a significant increase of
newspaper articles featuring LGBT issues across the years and particularly
in years 2014 and 2015, when the first Pride festival took place and when the
CU law was adopted, respectively. The sharp increase of articles observed in
2015 indicated an intense interest of newspaper around LGBT issues among
which, the CU law featured most prominently. Specifically, the CU law was the
main topic of concern in half of all articles written during 2015. As we note
subsequently, the law received wide support across newspapers.
We argue that overall during the reporting period and particularly during
2015, there was an over-focus on political and legal issues. In this respect, the
tendency was for LGBT people to appear in the newspapers predominantly
as subjects who are expecting the state to canonize their lives through
legislation. Other topics that received wide attention, such as the Pride
festivals, tended to remain at the collective level of LGBT community and
there was no reporting that included first person experiences of LGBT people
or investigative reporting of life stories.
With regards to differences between newspapers, there was a clear
difference between Simerini and the other three newspapers (Haravgi, Politis,
Fileleheros). Simerini showed the least interest in LGBT issues, evidenced
by the small amount of articles published around LGBT issues in general
and regarding the CU law specifically. All other three newspapers had a
similar pattern in the amount of reporting. Newspapers also exhibited
some differences in the stance of the articles they published regarding the
CU law. Out of the four newspapers, only Haravgi publishing solely positive
opinion articles regarding the issue. This difference could be attributed to
the ideological and political positioning of the newspapers. However, more
in depth analysis of the content of articles is needed to support such an
argument, which could be part of future work on the issue.
Regarding journalistic genre, the report demonstrated that opinion articles
followed an increasing trajectory over the years. Specifically, while prior to
5. Discussion and ways forward
35Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
2015 there was a visible difference between news and opinion articles,
with the former outnumbering the latter, in 2015, this difference decreased
significantly. This pattern shows a growing argumentative engagement with
the issue over the years, which is much needed in a society where LGBT
issues are not discussed in a meaningful and productive way.
Regarding motivations for writing the articles, policies, statements of
politicians and Church representatives and LGBT actions were identified as
the primary motivations. As with regards to policies and actions, authors were
primarily motivated to cover the Pride festivals and CU law issues. The fact
that statements of state and Church representatives prompted authoring
articles in such a big percentage (21.56%) is not surprising, given their
influential role in shaping the debate around these issues in Cypriot society.
This finding exemplifies the lack of voices of the LGBT community versus the
over-representation of more institutional perspectives over LGBT issues in
the newspapers.
The analysis of the coverage of the CU law showed a dominant positive
consensus. 76% of the opinion articles expressed a clear positive attitude
towards the CU law and related issues versus 17% that expressed a negative
one. This is a welcoming finding, probably reflecting the wider change of
attitudes towards acceptance of same-sex marriage in Cypriot society that
has been captured by Eurobarometeres (European Commission, 2006, 2015).
The discussion around CU law revolved around three main ideas: rights,
morals and progress. Both sides of the debate used a human rights-based
argument. Supporters of the law constructed CU as a basic human right
that should be protected. Those who opposed to the act framed it as a
violation of human rights of the heterosexual majority or an unnecessary
provision for rights that were already protected. Thus, what for some authors
was necessary reparation of the violated rights of the LGBT community,
for others this violation or even the inequality of LGBT people in society
was unacknowledged. On the contrary, LGBT rights were constructed as
antagonistic to the rights of the heterosexual majority, putting the two groups
in direct opposition to each other.
The discussion over the morality of homosexual orientation was also
polarized, framed in terms of absolute support or opposition. Those
supporting the CU law framed homosexuality as a normal variation of human
sexuality by constructing same-sex partners as “normal” people. On the other
36
end, those who opposed to the act framed homosexuality as abnormal or
unnatural, using the moral standards of Christian religion or of ‘our’ nation.
Cypriot society was thus constructed as being homogenously Christian
orthodox and heterosexual.
Finally, the discussion also revolved around the state of progress of the
society. Supporters of the CU law intensely criticized Cypriot society for being
conservative and uncivilized and falling far behind the other EU States (i.e.
not being European enough) in not having already legalized partnership. As
showed, the adoption of the law signaled social process. Opponents however
framed the act as a threat to the society and the existence of the nation.
Thus society was constructed as either being in need of more progress or
under threat because of evil and degenerating modernization. These two
constructions reflect an antithetical and polarized understanding of the
desired future of society from the part of the authors.
Overall, the debate around the CU law brought forward oppositional ideas:
demand for-violation of rights, natural-unnatural, progress-degradation. This
polarization has been identified in further ongoing analysis conducted with
other data of the same project (Christodoulou & Kadianaki, in preparation)
but was also evident in the parallel analysis conducted for the topic of
migration (Kadianaki et al., 2018; Avraamidou et al, 2017).
As a next step from this report, future work could examine whether visibility
of LGBT issues in the years aer 2015 followed similar or different patterns.
This question could help identify whether the increase of articles in 2015
could be solely attributed to the specific developments of the time period
studied (i.e. first Pride festival, CU law) or could be reflecting a broader shi of
more interest and engagement with LGBT issues in the press.
Similarly, the study could extent to the CU law coverage and examine
whether any reference is made to cases of implementation of the law. Of
particular interest would be to examine the arguments that appear around
those references in the post 2015 period and compare them with the
arguments presented in this report to identify possible changes.
Questions around visibility are important to pose given that lack of visibility
and indifference in the public sphere normalizes common sense views e.g.
that non-heterosexual behavior is extremely unusual, or deviant (Fisher et al.,
2007). Questions around the content of arguments involved in the coverage
37Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
of CU law are important in understanding which ideas are disseminated
regarding these issues, possibly influencing public understanding and
attitudes.
Other media sources should also be investigated, such as television and radio
and more importantly social media to delineate a more complete picture of
media content on LGBT issues. It would be interesting to examine whether
first person perspectives of the LGBT community appear in these mediums
more than the press.
More in-depth analysis of media content is also necessary to examine
critically the content of the discourse around LGBT issues, including, but not
limited to a critical discourse analysis of the ideological positioning of the
media and its impact on the content of the articles.
38
Avraamidou, M., Kadianaki, I., Ioannou, M., Panagiotou, E., (2017). Migration in the Greek-
Cypriot Press between 2011-2015: visibility, topics, trends and the debate between pro and
anti-migrant discourses. Nicosia: University of Cyprus. Available at: http://www.recrire.eu/
documents/.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in
psychology, 3(2), 77-101.
Christodoulou, C., & Kadianaki, I. (under preparation). Themata in the social representations
of homosexuality: an analysis of the Greek Cypriot press between 2011 and 2015.
Drydakis, N. (2014). Sexual orientation discrimination in the Cypriot labour market.
Distastes or uncertainty? International Journal of Manpower, 35(5), 720-744.
European Commission against Racism and Intolerance-ECRI (2016). Report on Cyprus.
Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Available at: https://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/
Country-by-country/Cyprus/CYP-CbC-V-2016-018-ENG.pdf.
European Commission (2006). Special Eurobarometer 263: Discrimination in the
European Union. Brussels: Belgium. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/
publicopinion/archives/ebs/ebs_263_en.pdf.
European Commission (2008). Special Eurobarometer 296: Discrimination in the
European Union: Perceptions, Experiences and Attitudes. Brussels: Belgium. Available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/archives/ebs/ebs_296_en.pdf.
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publicopinion/archives/ebs/ebs_393_en.pdf.
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publicopinion/index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/yearFrom/1974/yearTo/2015/
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6. References
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40
Variable Name Description Values
Newspaper Newspaper in which the article is published Haravgi; Fileleheros; Politis;
Simerini
Date Full Date of Publication Form: DD/MM/YYYY
Year Year of publication
2011/2012/2013/2014/2015
Journalistic
Genre
News: News articles’ main purpose is to
communicate information to the audience
without including critics or commentaries
on behalf of the author. Interviews and
reportages are also coded as news articles.
Opinion: Opinion articles’ main purpose is
to give an opinion/comment/critisise about
something. They may include references to
events, in order to give their opinion on them
or to analyse them/critisise them.
Articles that are written by public figures/lay
people, articles with pseudonyms/initials/
editorials are categorised as opinion articles.
Articles written by journalists can be both.
News; Opinion
Focus
Indicates if the focus of the article is towards
global, local issues or both. For an article
to be identified as a global, it needs to
primarily refer to situations out of Cyprus
(other countries, EU etc). For an article to be
identified as local its should primarily refer to
Cyprus. For an article to be identified as mixed
it needs to have references both to global and
local issues of at least 2-3 sentences long.
Articles referring to movies/theater/arts taking
place in Cyprus but not of Cyprus production
are coded as mixed articles.
Articles referring to science are coded
as global if they do not include specific
references to Cyprus.
Global; Local; Mixed
Annex I: Full Quantitative Coding Guide
7. Annexes
41Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
Variable Name Description Values
Prevalence of
issue
Identification of the level of importance
the LGBT references hold across the article.
Primary refers to articles that were written for
LGBT matters (usually these articles contain
one of the keywords in their title/subtitle).
Secondary articles are those who refer to
LGBT matters extensively but not as their
main and only content (those articles usually
have at least 1-2 paragraphs devoted to the
topic). Reference articles simply contain one
of the keywords without engaging with LGBT
matters.
Primary; Secondary;
Reference
Motivation for
writing
Identifies the motivation behind writing the
article.
Cultural events; Migration
matters; Statements by
Church representatives or
religious relevant events ;
Discrimination incidents
or facts; Politicians’ sexual
orientation; Sensational/
celebrity news; HIV-AIDS
relevant; LGBT organised
actions ; Policies; Statements
by political figures; Prisons;
Incidents relevant to
prostitution or porn industry;
Incidents relevant to schools
and/or homophobic events
at schools; Science and
surveys; Social media and
internet relevant incidents;
Other
Civil Union Law
reference
Identifies whether there is a reference in
the article to any type of legal partnerships,
recognizing homosexual relations.
List of words: σύμφωνο συμβίωσης,
το σύμφωνο, πολιτική ένωση, πολιτικό
σύμφωνο, πολιτική συμβίωση, νομικά
αναγνωρισμένη σχέση, γάμος, ρυθμισμένη
ελεύθερη συμβίωση, αναγνώριση
συμβιωτικών σχέσεων (και οι κλίσεις τους)
κ.α.
YES; NO
42
Code name Description
Legal issues
All references to issues related to the legal system, including
references as to whether the Civil union represented a basic legal
right or was an exemplification of the violation of the legal system
Practical issues All references to practical issues related to the lives of the LGBT
community that the Civil Union referred to
Societal progress Any reference that presented the Civil Union as a sign of progress
of the state and the society
Societal threat Any reference that presented the Civil Union as a sign of threat to
the society and the nation
Immorality Any reference to the moral standing of LGBT people and of the
homosexual orientation
Abnormality Any reference to the abnormanity of LGBT people and of the
homosexual orientation
Annex II: Qualitative date set coding guide
Annex III: Description of Motivation for writing categories
Cultural events: Articles written in order to promote a book, a performance, an arts
festival, to narrate the story of an artist or to cover an art relevant happening.
Migration matters: Articles written for cases of asylum seekers asking or not for asylum
based on their sexual orientation.
Statements by Church representatives or religious relevant events: Articles written to
cover statements by Church representatives or religious perspectives. They include
statements by Orthodox representatives but also Catholics and of any other religion.
Discrimination incidents or facts: Articles written to focus on homophobia or any form of
discrimination, either motivated by a real-life incident or not.
Politicians’ sexual orientation: Articles written because of incidents revealing a politician’s
sexual orientation, or articles covering relevant rumors.
Sensational/Celebrity news: Articles prompted by showbiz incidents (i.e. gay couple
kissing on TV, a singer comes out).
HIV-AIDS relevant: Articles written as a result of scientific discovery regarding HIV/AIDS, in
order to publish the results of a relevant survey or to cover the lives of people living with
HIV/AIDS.
LGBT organized actions: Articles written because of actions/events organized by or for
LGBT populations (meetings, Pride, festivals etc), interviews taken from people who are
active in organizing events for LGBT rights (i.e. ACCEPT members).
43Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender content in Greek-Cypriot newspapers 2011-2015
Policies: A broad category that includes articles written to focus on policies of a state
or a company (i.e. articles motivated by the CU, decriminalization of homosexuality,
anti-homophobic legislations, media regulations, adoption policies etc.). The categories:
Asylum seekers matters, incidents relevant to prisons, incidents relevant to schools and/
or homophobic events at schools are also relevant to this category but are categorized
separately.
Statements by political figures: Articles written to cover statements by political figures.
Incidents relevant to prisons: Articles written because of incidents or policies that have
to do with prisons’ regulations.
Incidents relevant to prostitution and/or porn industry: The article’s motivation is to
comment/refer on incidents that have to do with prostitution or porn films.
Incidents relevant to schools and/or homophobic events at schools: Articles motivated
by issues that have to do with school incidents (i.e. bullying) or education program (i.e.
sexual education) etc.
Science and Surveys: Articles written as a result of recent scientific discoveries, surveys
studying attitudes towards LGBT communities etc. or polls.
Social media and internet relevant incidents: Articles written because of social media
updates and modifications relevant to LGBT rights, or of general use of internet.
Other: Articles that do not fall into any of the above categories or that were not
motivated by specific incidents/facts.
44
Book
This book presents the main findings of an empirical exploration of media discourses on social representations of “otherness” in seven European countries. It focuses on the analysis of press discourses produced over a fifteen-year period (2000–2015) on three contemporary figures of otherness that challenge the identity of European societies, question the attitudes towards diversity, and pose significant challenges for policy-makers: immigration, Islam, and LGBT. The book provides a comprehensive and articulate map of how national media addresses such themes from both synchronic and diachronic perspectives, revealing patterns of continuity and discontinuity across time and space. Lastly, it discusses these patterns in the light of their cultural meanings and their influence on social and political collective behaviours.
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