THE Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) must be objective and its officials must ensure it is not used for black propaganda, ruling Disy leader Averof Neophytou urged on Friday.
Referring to the state broadcaster’s lead in Thursday’s night-time news, which read “President Anastasiades under fire from the parties”, Neophytou said anyone watching the title would surmise that Disy, along with all other parties, are against the president.
“It is unacceptable for a state-owned institution, that should be ensuring objectivity for anyone, to use the taxpayer’s money for black propaganda on a daily basis,” he said.
During coverage of local-government elections earlier this month, the CyBC found itself under fire from main opposition Akel, after it cut the broadcast of leader Andros Kyprianou mid-sentence to switch to remarks by the ruling Disy’s leader.
In response, the party announced suspending its members’ presence on CyBC shows until further notice.
However, qualifying his remarks on Friday, Neophytou was quick to clarify that his real target were opposition parties.
“For the first time since 1960 there is a stated position that the other side is willing to discuss the Treaty of Guarantee”, which allows the countries guaranteeing Cyprus’ constitutional order, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, to intervene – even unilaterally – to restore it, he said.
“The issue of guarantees may have been put forth in previous phases of the Cyprus problem, but the other side has never been willing even to talk about it.”
For the first time, he added, there is a president who not only raises the issue but has also achieved for the treaty to be tabled for discussion.
“With the clear position of all political parties that it should be abolished, of course,” Neophytou added.
Additionally, the European Union has officially announced that the Republic of Cyprus is, and will remain, a member-state after a solution.
“Therefore, we are looking at transforming the 1960 unitary state into a federal structure,” he said, implying that charges by opposition parties that the deal Anastasiades is working toward will compromise the international status of the Republic of Cyprus are baseless.
“Every few weeks we see opposition parties that oppose a bicommunal, bizonal solution to the Cyprus problem raising another issue. Those who oppose this model, which has been agreed by the two sides and ratified in every resolution of the United Nations’ Security Council, propose what?”
Those who oppose the effort to find a solution with the agreed model, he added, coordinate every few weeks, and “you have five parties, sometimes six, repeating the same issues, as if they came from a single printing shop, simply changing some of the punctuation points”.
“I acknowledge anyone’s right to an opinion, but I will not be dragged into the trap they are leading us into daily, because the Republic of Cyprus they are claiming should be the shield in our struggle, is being undermined only by them,” Neophytou said.
“Since we are only talking about a solution that will transform the existing unitary state into a federal one that will be a continuation of the Republic of Cyprus, I wonder why they raise issues relating to the existence of the Republic of Cyprus after a solution on a daily basis.”
He also asked what detractors are proposing instead, “not going to an international conference to talk about abolishing the Treaty of Guarantee?”
“And how, then, would we abolish the treaty, if not by attending a conference on Cyprus that would discuss the issue?” Neophytou asked.
“Would they prefer that we don’t discuss abolishing it so that they can claim to have safeguarded the Republic of Cyprus, but 40-per-cent occupied by Turkey and with unacceptable treaties with Turkish unilateral rights of intervention?”
The president of the board of CyBC, Thanassis Tsokos, denied Neophytou’s charges in a written statement on Friday, saying, “from the study carried out, it was found that in the CyBC’s main news bulletin or other bulletins on both television and radio, over the last five days, there was no news item entitled ‘President Anastasiades under fire from the parties’,” adding that the journalists of the state broadcaster “perform their duties professionally and objectively and without any ulterior aims.”