Cypriot public broadcaster RIK has come under criticism this week for dropping live coverage of state budget debates, which were carried out in calmer manner compared to previous years.
A three-day session in the Parliament began on Tuesday when lawmakers started debating the state budget for fecal year 2023, the tenth and last budget under the administration of outgoing President Nicos Anastasiades.
While in previous years debate got heated up due to opposition leveling accusations of corruption against the government, this year discussion was said to be calmer.
But lawmakers still had an axe to grind with state broadcaster after RIK dropped live coverage of the debates.
'The answer I got from RIK just today was that, you know, in a recent survey conducted by RIK we found out that announcements by political parties were not popular and so we cut them out'
House Speaker Annita Demetriou said she wrote a letter to RIK in which she said failure to broadcast the budget debates live was “unacceptable.”
“A letter is being sent on behalf of the speakership. It is unacceptable for RIK, especially during these budget days, not to show the session of the House of Representatives,” Demetriou said.
The House Speaker made the comment after left party AKEL leader Stefanos Stefanou broached the subject before making his remarks on the budget.
“I have been informed that the House session is not being shown on RIK,” Stefanou said, adding that the state broadcaster was instead showing soccer.
“RIK is showing the world cup. I too like football but RIK has two channels and they could have made arrangements,” he added.
Stefanou went on to say that he also noticed that remarks by party representatives, which were traditionally shown on television in the early afternoon at 2pm, had been dropped by RIK altogether.
“The answer I got from RIK just today was that, you know, in a recent survey conducted by RIK we found out that announcements by political parties were not popular and so we cut them out,” Stefanou said.
The AKEL leader, who noted the RIK budget was approved unanimously by the House a week earlier, asked his colleagues “I wonder what is the role of public television?”
Ruling party DISY MP Harris Georgiades, who stepped down as finance minister in 2019, told state radio on Wednesday morning that he agreed with the criticism against RIK.