The Cyprus Radio – Television Authority is an independent body, which was set up in 1998 under the Radio and Television Stations Law 7(I) of 1998 (as amended), and is the competent regulatory body responsible for the regulation of the radio-television sector in Cyprus. The Authority consists of a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman and five members, who are appointed by the Council of Ministers for a term of six years. Its operations and services are carried out by its staff, under the supervision of the Director.
The functions, powers and responsibilities of the Authority are defined by the above founding Law whilst the procedures on the basis of which the Authority carries out its investigation and examines offences are defined by the Regulations on Radio and Television Stations of 2000 Regulatory Administrative Act (K.D.P 10/2000). The Regulations incorporate the Journalists Code of Ethics and the Code on matters concerning advertising and subsidies. The Regulations also include extensive provisions on the principles and rules with which the content of the stations’ programs must comply.
The aim of the Radio – Television Authority is the regulation of the radio and television scene in Cyprus so as to secure the public interest through the protection of fundamental rights such as:
- The right of freedom of expression (a right which must not violate the rights of others).
- Freedom of speech and information (an indisputable prerequisite for establishing opinions and making decisions).
- Transparency regarding the ownership status of the stations so as to avoid the creation of monopolies.
Powers and Responsibilities of the Authority
- Subsidizes, renews, amends and recalls licenses for the setting up, installation and operation of radio and television stations, on the basis of criteria directed at serving public interest through information, education, entertainment and the promotion of culture.
- Examines either at its own initiative or after representations, matters regarding the possible violation of the Law by the stations and imposes sanctions envisaged by the Law after hearing the positions of the parties concerned. Sanctions include advice, warning, temporary suspension of the operation of the station, administrative fines and, in exceptional cases, recall of the license.
- Safeguards the protection of minors from programs which might cause bodily, mental or moral harm and ensures the correct usage of the Greek language.
- Regulates the provision of radio and television services and ensures the compliance of the stations with EU Regulations and the provisions of the Law, the Rules and the terms of the licenses (technical specifications, staff, quality of programs, advertisements).
- Controls the actual ownership status of stations to ensure their independence and transparency and to avoid the concentration of powers and the creation of monopolies.
- Safeguards freedom of speech in political and cultural issues, access to and choice of sources of information and educational and entertainment programs.
- Safeguards the journalistic and creative independence of the staff at the radio and television stations.
- Monitors international developments in the audiovisual field and submits suggestions to the Council of Ministers for the improvement, modernization and upgrading of the existing legislation and its alignment with the acquis communautaire.
- Exercises partial control (since April 2004), over the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, on the basis of the provisions of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation Law Para. 300A (as later amended).
Relations with International Bodies
The Radio – Television Authority maintains close relations and cooperates with overseas organizations, mainly European ones so as to keep abreast of international developments in the audiovisual field and participates in seminars and conferences on matters of its jurisdiction.
The Authority is a member of two important organizations:
- European Platform of Regulatory Authorities – EPRA
The Authority became a member of the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA) in February 1999. This Council brings together representatives of Regulatory Authorities from 39 countries of Europe.
The purpose of the organization is the exchange of views and ideas between the representatives of various member-countries. The Organization provides the means for the discussion of various issues and ways of solving the common problems faced by the Regulatory Authorities in field of Electronic Mass Media Communications.
Members of the Organization are all the countries of Western Europe, and a significant number of countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The European Union and the Council of Europe also participate in the meetings of the EPRA as permanent observers.
The Cyprus Radio – Television Authority participates regularly in the meetings of the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities which are held twice a year in the member-countries of the Organization.
- Mediterranean Network of Regulatory Authorities
The Mediterranean Network of Regulatory Authorities was founded in 1997 in Barcelona and provides a forum for discussion and exchange of information and ideas on regulatory matters in the Mediterranean area. The mission of the Network is the strengthening of the cultural and historical ties between the Mediterranean countries as well as the encouragement and promotion of the Mediterranean cultural identity.
Through the Radio – Television Authority, Cyprus became a member of the Network at the 4th Conference which took place in Naples in June 2000. At the same time it participates as a member of the General Secretariat of the Network to which France, Catalonia and Morocco also belong.
At present, members of the Network are the Regulatory Authorities of the following countries: France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Catalonia, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, Albania, Spain, Morocco, Israel, Serbia, Andalusia, Jordan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mauritania, Lebanon and Tunisia.