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Cyprus/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates  

4.2.6 Media pluralism and content diversity

The first steps in broadcasting in Cyprus were taken in spring 1951, during the British rule. The first radio programmes were aired on 4 October 1953 and the first TV programmes in October 1957. Upon independence of Cyprus in 1960, the "Cyprus Broadcasting Service" became the "Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation".

Cyprus' Audiovisual Media Sector since the late 1980s, is organised in two tiers: the public radio and television broadcasting, represented by CyBC (the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation), and a number of private radio and television channels. As stipulated in national legislation, the mission of CyBC is to provide public broadcasting services within the Republic, responding directly to the democratic, social and cultural needs of Cypriot society and to the need to secure pluralism of, inter alia, cultural and linguistic diversity in mass media.

CYBC RADIO services include four channels, each with its own special identity. More specifically, the First Channel has been on the air since the early 1950s. Today, it carries news, current affairs, cultural, athletic and musical programmes, in Greek. It also carries programmes made especially for the Maronite and Latin (Catholic) religious groups.  The Second Channel which broadcasts news, current affairs and entertainment in English, Turkish and Armenian. It also carries programmes for visitors in English, French and German. The Third Channel has been on the air since September 1990 and steadily tops ratings for all radio stations in Cyprus, boasting thousands of overseas Cypriots as its most loyal listeners. The Fourth Channel first aired in 2002 it transmits Greek and international music in the easy listening format.

CYBC TV services include two channels, CyBC1 and CyBC2, each with its distinct identity: CyBC1 broadcasts in Greek news and current affairs, popular series and films.

CyBC2 broadcasts children's and sports programmes in Greek, and news bulletins in Turkish and English. It also features a daily bi-communal programme called "ΒΙΖ/ΕΜΕΙΣ" (We) in Greek and Turkish, focusing on issues of interest to both Turkish and Greek Cypriots, in addition to cultural programmes and films. 

Under the Radio and Television Stations Law, Law 7(I) of 1998 an independent regulatory body, the Cyprus Radio and Television Authority (CRTA), was established to handle matters regarding media pluralism and content diversity and to regulate and control radio-television matters.

According to the Radio and Television Organisations' Law, the CRTA every three years edits and publishes a report on the development of pluralism and content diversity, which is submitted to the Council of Ministers and to the House of Representatives.

According to the Radio and Television Organizations’ Law, the CRTA evaluates the ability and commitment of the applicants to provide programs with pluralism and content diversity, and the independence of journalists and other creators in the television or radio organizations.

Moreover, the Radio and Television Organizations’ Law provides that the TV or radio programs must be governed by the principles of pluralism and content diversity and the greater possible access of the public. One of the most important aspects of the Authority's wider duty is to safeguard the right to freedom of expression.

Chapter published: 05-10-2015

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