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Greek channels’ descent a “Vgenopoulos-type” risk, TV watchdog says

Growing interest by Greek channels to set up shop in Cyprus has created a visible danger of creating another Vgenopoulos-type drama, this time in the island’s TV sphere, the head of the Cyprus Radiotelevision Authority warned on Wednesday.

Speaking after a House Interior Committee Andreas Petrides said Cyprus was at risk of becoming a battlefield between Greek channels and their government as there is growing popularity in Greek media moguls to the idea of airing from the island.

“What happened with Andreas Vgenopoulos and Laiki Bank needs to be a lesson to all of us and we need make sure this is not repeated.”

He has already sent a letter to the committee which is currently discussing amendments on broadcasting laws.

“We draw parliament’s attention to the problems that will arise with the possible uncontrolled descent of Greek channels to Cyprus,” he was quoted by daily Phileleftheros as saying.

Alpha TV has already been approved and is likely to begin broadcasting in May. Its application stated it will open up 60 jobs.

Earlier, Petrides had told the Cyprus Mail another five Greek channels were interested in making a move to the island too.

“We want to have Cypriot TV. A Greek channel, which may pay €1 million tomorrow for a license in Greece, by coming to Cyprus will pay a total of €250,000 for a license and signal, solve its financial problems and can then safely wage a war with (Greek Prime Minister Alexis) Tsipras, but this isn’t what we want.”

Hence, he called on deputies to vote for renewing the authority’s right to issue temporary licenses to channels, noting that not doing so would lead to “adventures”, not only for the authority but for Cypriot channels too.

The matter is set to be discussed during a House Interior Committee session on Wednesday.

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