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Akel and CyBC make up after row

Akel spokesman Stefanos Stefanou

State broadcaster (CyBC) boss Thanasis Tsokos and Akel spokesman Stefanos Stefanou met in order to resolve the mini-crisis that erupted last week, after the party took offence at the broadcaster’s move to cut party leader Andros Kyprianou mid-sentence during last month’s municipal elections, it was announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, Akel had expressed dismay at the CyBC for deciding to cut Kyprianou’s live remarks short to broadcast Disy leader Averof Neophytou’s arrival at Limassol mayor Nicos Nicolaides’ campaign headquarters, where no remarks were made, and announced it would respond to the provocation by refusing to be attend the TV channel’s talk shows.

According to a statement issued by Tsokos on Tuesday, the reconciliation meeting took place a day earlier.

“During our meeting, I informed Mr Stefanou on the work of the CyBC’s board of directors this past year, as well as its goals for 2017,” Tsokos said.

“We also discussed the issue that came up from the wrongful interruption of Akel secretary-general Andros Kyprianou’s remarks on the night of the local-government elections, for which the CyBC’s board has issued a statement.”

The CyBC chief said he briefed Stefanou on the broadcaster’s intention to introduce a set of guidelines on the coverage of political parties’ views, aiming at their “fair and balanced presentation in the station’s news programmes”.

“I also assured Akel’s spokesman that it is an unwavering goal of both the management and the team of journalists at the CyBC to keep being the first, credible, timely, and reliable source of information in the country,” Tsokos said.

In a statement, Stefanou said the party decided to end the embargo it had imposed on the broadcaster’s talk shows, as a result of “the CyBC’s public admission that it was wrong to cut the live transmission” of Kyprianou’s remarks.

“At the meeting [with Tsokos] various issues relating to journalistic integrity and objective news reporting were discussed, as well as the CyBC’s intention to introduce relevant guidelines,” Stefanou said.

“Akel will continue to monitor the issue, expecting specific decisions and steps in this direction from the CyBC’s board and management.”

Last Friday, the broadcaster came under fire from Disy chief Neophytou, too, who censured the state-funded institution for allowing “black propaganda” from opposition parties.

Neophytou had cited a news title he had supposedly seen on the nighttime news show the night before, which had seemed to suggest that all parties were hammering President Nicos Anastasiades on his handling of the Cyprus problem talks.

The particular title Neophytou had cited, it turned out, had been used the night before by Alpha TV, not the CyBC.

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