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Cyprus

‘CyBC will not become another ERT’

THE Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) is facing a grim economic outlook, and urgently needs to cut wasteful expenses if it is to survive, Auditor-general Chrystalla Georghadji warned yesterday.

At the last count, the CyBC’s liabilities exceeded the organisation’s assets by €73m, Georghadji told MPs.

Briefing the House Watchdog committee on her 2012 report on the CyBC, the official said it’s clear that the entity could not stay afloat without government support.

Sounding the alarm yesterday, the Auditor-general said that, given the government’s inability to prop up the CyBC as before, the only solution is for the organisation to put its finances in order.

The official highlighted the entity’s practice of hiring contractors on contracts of indefinite duration. Over time, the working hours of these employees are gradually increased, so to all intents and purposes they become full-time employees – despite a ban on hiring new staff.

Georghadji moreover pointed out the gross salary discrepancies among staff, and called for the abolition of certain provident funds.

MPs heard for example that some CyBC employees are on €6,000 a month.

For his part, CyBC chairman Giorgos Tsalakos said the organisation’s leadership is keen to take on board the Auditor-general’s recommendations.

“We would like the auditor-general’s report [on CyBC] in 2014 to be a blank page,” he told MPs.

“CyBC will not become another ERT,” added Tsalakos.

He was referring to Greece’s public broadcaster, shut down by order of the Greek government last summer, a move sparking outcry from workers unions. ERT subsequently reopened as DT (Dimosia Tileorasi) and re-employed a fraction of its former staff.



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