Tributes are pouring in for veteran journalist Takis Kounafis who died early on Tuesday aged 77.

His funeral will be held on Thursday, at 3.00 pm at Ayios Demetrios church in Acropolis, Nicosia. He is survived by his wife Kikoula, his children Nicolas and Margarita and his grandchildren.

For the Union of Cyprus Journalists (UCJ), Kounafis was a leading, emblematic figure of the journalistic community who had served as editor for the biggest part of his career, as his leadership and executive skills had been recognised early on.

Kounafis started his career at Machi newspaper in 1963, becoming editor of Ta Nea, the mouthpiece of socialist Edek from 1970 to 1990. During the same period, he was actively involved in the weekly satirical paper, Paraskinio.

He served as editor of leading daily Phileleftheros from 1990 until his retirement in 2013.
Kounafis joined the Union in 1970 – his membership number in the union’s records is 32 — and served as a member of the board for three consecutive terms over the period 1977 to 1983, retaining an interest in trade union issues until the end, the UCJ said.

He had regular columns and his writing was distinguished by its direct, critical, and caustic commentary, the union added.

Kounafis considered his biggest journalist scoop the March 8, 1970, revelation in Machi of plans to assassinate then president Archbishop Makarios which were confirmed the next morning.

In a written statement, director of the president’s press office Andreas Iosif extended sincere condolences to Kounafis’ family, saying he was “a tireless pioneer of Cypriot journalism, one of the most dedicated members of the press”.

“Takis Kounafis left an important body of work that will be referenced for generations to come,” Iosif wrote.

“He experienced the great moments of the Republic of Cyprus, recording important events of the modern history of our country.

“Through his writings, he left his mark on Cypriot journalism”.