Cyprus Mail

Cypriot journalists enjoy autonomy and no political influence, says study

Media crews and journalists in action

By Angelos Anastasiou

JOURNALISTS in Cyprus have professional autonomy and the freedom to exercise their duties, as well as full liberty in selecting the angle from which they will approach a subject, according to a survey conducted by the University of Cyprus (UCy) and the Technological University of Cyprus (TEPAK), in collaboration with the Union of Cyprus Journalists.

The survey’s findings, presented on Wednesday, suggested that journalists in Cyprus participate in many of the meetings that set the course of the news medium they work in and are influenced primarily by the editor of the news channel, then the owner, then by the time constraints they face, and lastly by the chief-reporter.

Cypriot journalists reported no political influence.

Presenting the findings, TEPAK’s Demetra Milioni said 97 per cent of journalists have at least a university degree, while 44 per cent have a postgraduate degree, and 2 per cent a doctorate.

Four in five respondents, she added, majored in journalism or another field of communications.

The mean age of journalists on the island is 37.5 years, with the largest chunk – over 48 per cent – found in the 24 to 35 age bracket.

About half of all journalists in Cyprus do not belong to any professional union.

The survey was conducted between March and September 2014 among 206 journalists from private and public media.

UCy Social and Political Studies lecturer Lia-Paschalia Spyridou said journalism is at a transition point, but also in crisis, with initial credibility concerns raised in the United States in the 1980s.

These days, she added, the crisis has intensified due to the advent of a culture of cynicism and generally diminishing confidence in institutions.

Journalist Costas Venizelos said the technological revolution offers direct contact with society, which the media are called to exploit.

He argued that the ongoing financial crisis has severed the profession’s close ties with big business through financial reliance, as advertising budgets initially shrank, and were eventually all but scrapped.

Journalist Yiorgos Kaskanis raised the question of what the public asks of journalism, since the eruption of tens of online news portals has differentiated the very definition of journalism.

He added that false news and events are reproduced and falsified remarks and photographs are recorded on the internet, which neither honours, nor constitutes journalism.

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