An organisation for people with disabilities has lambasted the annual Radiomarathon hosted by state broadcaster CyBC, saying it patronises them and does not treat them as equal citizens.

“The Radiomarathon not only insults disabled people as equal citizens, the bearers of rights, and commodifies disability and promotes pity but also exposes Cypriot society internationally as not being a modern democratic state,” said the Cyprus Confederation of Disability Organisations (Kysoa) in a scathing statement directed at the government on the radiomarathon foundation.

The organisation said the government insists on anachronistic policies that degrade people with disabilities and the radiomarathon is just one such way that the government manages to violate their human rights.

“The charity product radiomarathon is designed by the government itself and sold through public broadcasting, against the opposition of all, including the organisations of people with disabilities,” Kysoa said.

They added that the state tries to play it off as something to support children with health problems, but instead collects money for people with disabilities, “considering them as people of low perception and intelligence”.

According to the organisation, this charade of collecting money for children does not last long, as during the programming of the radiomarathon, they have people come and speak about disabilities and receive financial aid through the radiomarathon.

“Unsuspecting citizens with disabilities, who are invited to sing a song, say a poem, or a few words, as dictated to them by the CyBC authorities and others to keep in the spirit, with the sole goal being to increase inflows into their coffers,” Kysoa said:

According to Kysoa in the announcement for this year’s festival, there is a reference to €188,000, given to individuals and institutions and disbursed from the radiomarathon funds since last November, which is only a small part of the approximately €500,000, which was reported to have been collected last year.

“No sane person disputes that when the state radio and television bombards Cypriot society with huge continuous advertisements and propaganda, there will not be response from a part of the population that is perceived as an expression of social sensitivity, through financial contribution in favour of children with health problems,” Kysoa said.

In addition, Kysoa reported that the organisers in full coordination with the government are trying to convince Cypriots that “giving alms is a charitable debt”.

Kysoa said that this results in offending people with disabilities as equal citizens and commercialises on disabilities.