Cyprus Mail

Foreign language services poised for cuts

By Peter Stevenson
WITH THE CyBC forced to slash its budget by €6 million for next year, the state broadcaster’s eye has turned to its foreign language services as a place to make cuts.
Reducing the CyBC budget would be impossible without closing down a number of stations, services or programmes chairman Makis Symeou said last month.
“As we are now, we cannot submit a budget for €20m. It will be a budget of redundancies. Every worker who hears us now knows this, how much we have saved, (imposing) zero overtime and benefits. We’ve already reached our limits,” he said.
Symeou pointed to the fact that the CyBC is obliged to broadcast foreign language radio and TV programmes in Turkish and English at a great cost.
CyBC director Themis Themistocleous confirmed this week that the station was looking at changing how it operates and broadcasts its foreign language news services.
“We are looking at reducing costs and came to the conclusion that it was not an efficient method of operating by employing a group of news writers and a group of presenters so we will look to possibly combine the two positions,” he said.
The TV news will most likely take the form of a news bulletin voiceover, similar to Euronews, the director said.
“We have already begun using that format with Greek news at the weekends and if it allows us to cut some costs then we will go ahead with it,” Themistocleous said, adding that a decision will be made very soon.
Mail sources said that there have been rumours for a few months now that changes were going to be made to the foreign news bulletins and that the presenters may lose their jobs by the middle of this month.
“With just over a week to go, nobody from the CyBC has consulted any of the presenters about possible changes and we have been kept in the dark, with no official notification,” the source said.
“After almost a decade of working for the CyBC, I find this behaviour very unprofessional,” he said.
“We are paid a small sum per bulletin and have not received a pay rise in nine years, while many employees at the CyBC earn a very good salary. Surely, it makes more sense to reduce these wages rather than save a small amount by letting us go,” he added.

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