Foundation, Status, and Juridical Basis

The Cyprus RadioTelevision Authority was established in 1998 when the Radio and Television Stations Law 7(I)/1998 was enacted. It is the competent regulatory body for the establishment, installation and operation of private radio and television stations in the Republic of Cyprus. The Authority is given all necessary powers to enable it to exercise effective regulation and control of the broadcasting sector. The Authority consists of a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman and five members who are appointed by the Council of Ministers.
The Authority follows very closely the international changes and developments in policy and technology and participates regularly in seminars and discussions organised by European organizations such as the Council of Europe. The Authority is also a member of the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA) and the Mediterranean Network of Regulatory Authorities.

The independence of the Authority is guaranteed by the Law and by the powers that is accorded. The Authority has its own services and it is self-funded through the income derived from licence fees and advertising revenues. The decisions of the Authority take effect without any other approval and are subject only to judicial review. Furthermore, the term of office of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and members is 6 years, a year longer than the term of office of the President of the Republic and the removal of any member before the end of their term can be done only under certain conditions expressly prescribed by the Law.

The independence that is provided to the Authority constitutes the background for the independence of the entire broadcasting sector and to ensure the right of freedom of expression.


Organisation and Competencies

The general management of the Authority’s business is assigned to its Director. All its employees are appointed by the Authority itself and they are liable to its administrative and disciplinary control. The structure of the Authority’s services, the schemes of the personnel’s services, the retirement benefits, the disciplinary code and the exercise of disciplinary authority i.e. Terms and Conditions of Employment are determined by Regulations, drafted on the basis of the Terms and Conditions of Employment that are set and must be followed by civil servants and/ or government officials.

The Director, who is the highest executive officer of the Authority, is in charge of its services, ensures the execution of its decisions and exercises any other duty as may be specified, subject to the instructions issued by the Authority. Unfortunately, he is the only employee of the Authority who is not permanent staff but appointed on a 6-year contract basis that may be renewed. Section 9 of the CRTA Law is quite relevant:

“Section 9
Services of the Authority
9. (1) The Authority shall have its own office and services which are necessary for the promotion of its objectives.
(2) The general management of the work of the Authority shall be entrusted to its director.
(3) The director and the other employees of the Authority shall be appointed by itself and shall be subject to its administrative and disciplinary control.
(4) The director of the Authority shall be appointed under a six year contract which is renewable.
(5) The organic structure of the services of the Authority, the schemes and conditions of service of the employees, the retirement benefits, the disciplinary code and the exercise of disciplinary power shall be defined by Regulations.
(6) The director, who shall be the highest executive agent of the Authority shall be the head of its services, shall make sure that its decisions are executed and shall carry out any other duty, as this is defined, subject to the instructions which are given him from time to time by the Authority.
(7) The Authority may transfer its functions to the director or to committees which consist of members of the Authority and in which the director as well as other officials of the Authority may participate. The above transfer of functions may be revoked by the Authority whenever it deems it advisable.
(8) The director shall attend the meetings of the Authority and its committees without the right to vote unless the Authority decides otherwise.”
(Please note that the above quote from the CRTA law is a free translation from Greek to English).

For the time being, the Authority does not have an official organizational chart for the organization of its services, but we can give you a general idea of the posts and procedures followed internally:

Officer A’ is an administrative officer that ensures the smooth operation of the office’s operations helps the Director with administrative tasks and substitutes him during his absence. She also deals with personnel matters, meets regularly with the President of the Authority, drafts the agendas for the Authority’s meetings and checks any material/ memorandums to be circulated internally as well as externally.

The Authority’s services are (unofficially for the time being) separated into 6 departments: Monitoring (TV), Monitoring (Radio), Licensing, Legal, International & Public Relations, and Accounting. Six of the Authority’s Officers are also appointed as co-coordinators for each one of these unofficial departments.


Power and Duties of the Autority

The Authority has the following powers and duties:

  • Ensures political and cultural pluralism
  • Ensures that everyone has the right of access in any information and choose any educational and entertainment programmes.
  • Regulates the benefit of broadcasting services to and from Cyprus and controls the conformity of stations according to the provision that is in effect in European Union and to the provisions of Law and Regulations, Code of journalistic ethics and terms of the licence (technical specifications, personnel, quality of programs, publicity).
  • It is the appropriate authority for granting, renew and amend licences for the foundation, installation and operation of radio and television stations, with a view of serving the public interest through information, education, entertainment and the promotion of culture.
  • Controls the actual ownership status of stations with a view to safeguarding their transparency as well as to eliminate tendencies, actions or the pursuit of concentration, oligopoly or monopoly situations. Establishes measures for the equivalent treatment of political parties and other body or organ by the private broadcasting sector during the pre-election period.
  • Ensures the journalistic and creative independence of the employees of the stations.
  • Examines of its own accord or after representations matters regarding the observance of the principles and imposes sanctions for violation of the provisions of the present Law, after hearing the interested parts. Sanction includes an advice, a warning, a temporary suspension of the operation of the station for a period non exceeding three months, administrative fines and in exceptional cases, recall of the licence.
  • Monitors international developments in the audiovisual field and submit suggestions to the Council of Ministers for the improvement, modernisation and upgrading of the relevant legislation and monitors the programme content so that it complies with the provisions of the Law and the Regulations.

Mission and Role

The main work of the Authority is to safeguard the right of expression. However, in order to become possible the operation of radio-television stations with a view to serving the public interest and preventing the violation of human rights and the serious impair of viewers, is essential existence of terms and restrictions in various subjects.

The need for the existence of regulations derives from various reasons:

First of all is the important role, the nature and the mission of the cyprus Radio Television Authority. Follows the ascertainment that the radio waves constitute a public benefit and part of our national wealth, and, consequently their exploitation should contribute to the safeguarding of public interest and to the upgrade of the social benefit.

The need of regulation aims to the safeguarding of fundamental benefits, as:

  • the right of freedom of expression, which prevents the violation of human rights.
  • the pluralism as a condition for configuration of opinion and reception of decision
  • the transparency of the actual ownership in order to eliminate tendencies of monopoly
  • the exclusion of undesirable persons from their attendance in the Means of Mass Communication.

Composition, Identity of the members, Mandates, Pictures, Presidency

The Authority is comprised by the president, the vice-president and five members who are appointed by the Council of Ministers. The president, the vice-president and the members of the Authority are appointed for a period of six years and come from the fields of education, the arts, science or technology or are persons with special expertise and recognized experience in mass media matters, of a high professional and moral standard. No person is appointed as a member of the Authority if he has a direct or indirect interest in any radio-television enterprise or in the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.

The current composition of the Authority is as follows:

President Ms. Rona Petri Kassapi
Vice-president Mr. Xenofon Charalambous

Members
Mr. Tasos Kirmitsis
Mr. Isidoros Kolotas
Mr. Sergios Poizis
Ms. Angeliki Lazarou
Ms. Maria Kousiou

 

Cases of vacation of a post in the Authority

The posts of president, vice-president or members of the Authority shall be vacated in the following cases:
(a) in case of death
(b) in case or resignation which is tendered in writing to the Council of Ministers
(c) in case of discharge which is decided by the Council of Ministers
(i) due to assumption of an office or post in any political party or
(ii) due to improper conduct

In the event that the posts of president, vice-president or member of the Authority are vacated before the end of their term, the Council of Ministers proceeds to new appointment(s) for the filling of the vacant post(s) for the remainder of their term.

The members of Cyprus Radio-Television Authority (i.e. the Council) are not regular employees, i.e. they do not comprise part of the Authority’s services and do not attend the Authority’s businesses on a daily basis. They meet twice a week in order to take decisions on general policy making for various issues, examine various cases Vs stations and various administrative matters that concern the Authority. The members are compensated in monetary terms for the time spent during their meetings.

Links

Official site of the Republic of Cyprus : www.cyprus.gov.cy
Cyprus News Agency: www.cna.org.cy
Cyprus Press and Information Office: www.moi.gov.cy/moi/pio/pio.nsf
Media Program in Cyprus: www.mediadesk.com.cy

Contact

The Cyprus RadioTelevision Authority
42 Athalassas Avenue
2012 Strovolos-Nicosia
P.O.Box 23377
Nicosia 1682
Cyprus

Phone: +357 22 51 24 68
Fax: +357 22 51 24 73
Website: www.crta.org.cy
Email: crtauthority@crta.org.cy