Theodoulos Constantinides paved the way for Cyprus journalism, the government said on Monday at the unveiling of the bust of the first Cypriot journalist and publisher outside the journalist union building in Nicosia.

Speaking on behalf of the president who was unable to attend because he is in Dubai, Nouris praised Constantinides’ role in the history of journalism in the island.

The minister described the journalist as an “ardent patriot” and an “ideologist” who during the critical period of 1878 when Cyprus was still under Turkish rule thought to leave his career as a teacher in Egypt to publish a bilingual newspaper entitled “Kypros-Cyprus”.

“A newspaper which, as well as the other publications that Theodolos Constantinidis subsequently published and despite the difficulties he faced, was a huge success,” Nouris said on behalf of Anastasiades.

The cost of the bust was covered by the board of directors of the Cyprus Union of Journalists and the Fotos Fotiadis cultural foundation.

Theodoulos Constantinides (1847-1900) brought a printing press from Egypt to Cyprus and published his first newspaper on August 29, 1878 after the British took control of Cyprus and he was granted permission by the first British governor Sir Garnet Wolseley.

The newspaper consisted of separate material in two pages in Greek and two pages in English.

Within the same year however, he lost the printing house and the newspaper as he could not repay some loans, which led to long legal battles.

He proceeded to print a second newspaper called Kition which was distributed until 1884.

Constantinides was also a successful playwright and was also involved in prose and satirical poetry.

Constantinides would be proud, Anastasiades added, that the Cyprus press “exercises its duties without any restriction or interference”.

The state, recognising the multifaceted work of journalism, has in recent years promoted financial support plans for the press, while the media were also included in the government’s support schemes for businesses during the pandemic.

Furthermore, cabinet decided for the third consecutive year to implement a De Minimis aid payment scheme to support the print media, amounting to €300,000, while the relevant legislation has been modernised to keep up with new developments.

The president’s speech added that changes were being made in the way the Press and Information Office (PIO) and the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) operate.