Cyprus Mail

CyBC journalist resigns amid cries of censorship

Outrage has emerged over the sudden disinvitation of an Edek MP to a key state broadcaster CyBC show after a senior official reportedly intervened, leading to a top journalist’s resignation from the programme and causing uproar over concerns of censorship.

Edek MP Kostis Efstathiou was due to participate in the afternoon show Mera se Mera on Friday but was suddenly called up five minutes prior and told, without explanation, that he would no longer appear. Efstathiou was scheduled to discuss Edek party matters. A snap election was announced later on Friday.

The MP’s sudden cut led to CyBC journalist Dinos Finikarides to resign from the show as presenter, with Efstathiou on Tuesday praising the move, amid reports that a senior figure at CyBC ordered the MP’s disinvitation. Earlier reports had indicated that Finikarides had resigned from CyBC itself, but it later appeared that the scope was more limited.

Daily Politis reported that senior CyBC officials have convened an urgent meeting to discuss the matter with Finikarides invited for consultation, amid speculation that he will be pressed to return.

President of the Cyprus Journalists Union Giorgos Frangos was invited on Tuesday to appear on the show to discuss World Press Freedom Day but later declined to appear, saying that freedom of expression had been infringed upon.

Outrage spilled over from social media to official party announcements, with Akel calling on CyBC to give clear answers to who gave the order for Efstathiou’s appearance to suddenly be cut.

The main opposition party decried the event as “extremely serious”, saying it offends the free press and the ethics of journalism. It further stated that this is one of a series of cases which point to interference, censorship and discriminatory behaviour under the current government.

The Greens said that if the reports turn out to be true then the incident marks a “major blow to freedom of the press”.

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