05 February 2014 14:21

The cash-strapped semi-state Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation will not only not shut down overnight as did its counterpart in Greece, but will become a leading player in the media field.
But this is provided much-needed changes are made, new board chief George Tsalakos on Tuesday told the House Watchdog Committee looking into the Auditor General's 2012 report.
The report shows that CyBC's obligations exceed assets by €73 million and that it cannot survive without state support.
"CyBC won't turn into another ET (Greek Television). It's up to us to find the way to implement much-needed changes to make it viable and competitive," Tsalakos said.
"Once it gets a restructuring and a new start, CyBC can become a leading player (in the media field)," he added.
Nonetheless, Auditor General Chrystalla Yiorgadji sounded the alarm, telling board representatives that there was little time, otherwise the bad example of Greek Television will be repeated.
"The goal is to prevent that bad example from happening again but the prevailing crisis and the inability of the state to sustain CyBC is a fact," she said.
"Each and every one has to be paid according to the hours put at work and the worth of that work…many staff on contract have seen these contracts turn into ones with undefined expiration date. This means that they have become full time staff," she added.
But there are huge salary differences between permanent staff and those on long-term contracts.
There are also different provident and health funds for management and other employees and this has to stop, she said.
In addition, CyBC owes money to the pension fund which is to be affected due to the crisis, she added.
At the same time, Opposition Akel MP Irene Charalambides - a former television presenter on CyBC - called for caution when it comes to long-term contract staff.
Not all of them are paid the same for equal work, especially when it comes to journalists, she pointed out.
"Some are getting €6,000 per month and enjoy privileges that others don't have," she said.


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