The public now has access to over a century’s worth of government newspaper archives free of charge following a cabinet decision on Wednesday, Government Spokesman. Nicos Christodoulides said.
In a written statement he said the cabinet had approved the free use of the newspaper archives at the Press and Information Office (PIO) for all persons “without exception”. “This decision is another step that brings these valuable files closer to the citizen,” he said.
The PIO historical archive includes about 10,000 volumes of Greek and English language newspapers published in Cyprus from the start of British colonial rule in 1878 until today, as well as copies of Turkish Cypriot newspapers and those published by Greek or Greek Cypriot communities abroad.
Not only is the archive, a part of the island’s cultural heritage, but it is also a valuable tool for hundreds of students, researchers, journalists and ordinary citizens who visit the PIO building in Nicosia every year, the spokesman added.
Microfilm systems, which have been in place since 1995 are now accompanied by digital files on which software has been installed that provides search capabilities with keywords.
Until now, the only partly digitised files had been at a research centre in Limassol, available since 2010. “It is worth noting that the PIO is still working on the digitisation of the entire file, a time consuming and expensive process that began a few years ago,” the spokesman said.
He said that until now all users of the PIO archives had been asked to pay usage fees costing €4.35 per hour for the digitized part of the file and €2 per hour for the use of microfilms.
“Today’s decision of the cabinet to abolish user fees of the PIO newspaper archive greatly enhances the efforts for full, unhindered and free access of all citizens to primary sources of information, in line with the practice in most files of its kind in Europe,” Christodoulides said.