NICOSIA - Having handed in his resignation the previous night, Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) General Manager Gregoris Maliotis on Thursday questioned the state broadcaster’s viability.
Speaking at a House Interior Committee meeting, Maliotis said CyBC would be unable to make ends meet with its 2014 budget and that the recent additional €300,000 Cabinet-ordered cuts had dealt a dangerous blow.
Noting that CyBC’s deficit stood at €2.3 million, Maliotis said the budget balanced “under the assumption staff would be leaving.”
Maliotis said he had submitted his resignation for ethical reasons and because of alleged outside intervention against CyBC staff.
CyBC board chairman George Tsalakos said he had learned of Maliotis’ resignation through the newspapers. He also admitted cutting short CyBC’s coverage of the recent dispute between the former Chief of Police Michalis Papageorgiou and Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou.
Tsalakos said he had done so because Papageorgiou had been repeating his positions for a significant time during the broadcasting of the news.
CyBC’s vice-chairman Andis Tryfonides added there was no choice but to take whatever “unpleasant action” to survive the budget cuts.
He said CyBC’s budget for 2010 had been €52m while this year, it stood at €30m.
Tryfonides also put forward staff numbers, according to which there were 395 employees in 2003, increasing to 456 by 2009 and 465 by 2011. Over the last two years, he added, the number had fallen to 410.
He noted that, because of the relevant law, some staff members who had started off as the providers of paid-for services had become full-time employees over time, getting a rise in salary turning the original €500 to €1,000 per month to €2,500.
CyBC’s News Director Yiannis Kareklas said it would be Cypriots and political parties who would pay the price if the state broadcaster closed.
He also said he had evidence of outside intervention at the CyBC, saying no political parties had proved to be the exception.
Tsalakos later issued a written statement refuting the allegations of outside interference and lack of objectivity.