Cyprus Mail

CyBC budget cut minimised but English department suffering

By Peter Stevenson

Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos has agreed with the public broadcaster CyBC’s board that their budget would be reduced by €4 million instead of the €5.5 million which had originally been mooted.

The budget for 2013 came to around €26.5 million while the cabinet had originally agreed to slash CyBC’s budget next year to around €20 million.

Hasikos said that following the decision to reduce the budget cut, no more redundancies would be made, salaries would remain the same and the broadcaster’s programmes would not be further affected.

Hasikos said a study would be carried out to see how the state broadcaster could be restructured which would affect the CyBC’s finances and the way it is run.

Despite this turnaround there has been unrest within the broadcaster’s English radio department which has seen the resignation of the channel’s news discussion show Round and About’s two presenters.

Subsequently the discussion show, which aired from Monday to Friday at 6pm for two hours and regularly hosted government ministers and other dignitaries from the world of politics, has gone off-air and been replaced by music.

This has coincided with the CyBC’s English language website also going offline.

British pensioners John and Ann Smith told the Cyprus Mail that they are very upset by the change as they rely on the English programming to keep them up to date with current events.

Costas Nicolaides head of the CyBC’s radio and music programmes department and acting director assured the Mail that the two presenters would be replaced as soon as possible.

“We will be internally restructuring as we are not allowed to hire new personnel following a freeze on public sector hirings, in order to replace the two presenters who resigned,” he said.

Nicolaides said he did not believe the quality of the programme would be compromised by putting two non-native English speakers at the helm.

“The new presenters will most likely speak with a Greek accent but their better knowledge of Greek will help them with translations,” he said.

As for the website, the acting director said that it would also be up and running again as soon as possible although he could not give an exact date.

The CyBC is currently undergoing an overhaul following the resignation in October of its chairman Makis Symeou.

He said at the time that he submitted his resignation as he was unable to draft a budget that would be catastrophic for the organisation and would see people lose their jobs.

Former director Themis Themistocleous has also been recently put on retirement leave.

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