Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Cybc unions protest ad ban on state broadcaster

By Evie Andreou

ALL CYBC employee unions on Thursday expressed their opposition to a cabinet decision banning the public broadcaster from airing ads as of next year and want to have it reversed.

In a joint statement, unions Evrik, Sytirik, Sidikek-Peo and the managerial personnel’s Sydipro, said they would “take every measure to ensure that the state broadcaster is able to provide full information to citizens.”

The unions called for dialogue with Cybc’s board of directors with the sole aim of reaching a sound basis for the broadcaster’s economic independence. They also said they would seek meetings with state officials.

They also called on the board of directors to submit Cybc’s budget for 2019 based on the law as it has been up to now, with advertisements.

“The standing position of all unions but also of the Cybc was and will continue to be, that the advertising of products and services provide information to citizens as consumers and as such it is part of the role and mission of the public broadcasting service,” they said.

Securing advertisements, they said, was also a motive for the production of competitive programmes.

They also said that advertisements secure funds for the operation of the state broadcaster thus lightening the burden that falls on the shoulders of the taxpayer.

The council of ministers decided earlier in the month to ban Cybc from airing paid advertising spots and engaging in telemarketing and approved an increase of the government grant in the organisation’s 2019 budget to offset the loss of revenue from advertising.

The decision to ban commercial advertising on Cybc was on the grounds that public radio and television should not operate in competition to other channels. This exempts barter agreements, prizes, sponsorships and product placement as well as web-based advertisements.

The broadcaster’s board of directors is said that have agreed to go ahead with an advertising-free model in exchange of the additional grant.