The Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Equal Opportunities for Men and Women convened on Monday to discuss the removal of journalist Despina Roussou from the show "Proino Dromologio" (Morning Routes) and the subsequent handling of the situation by RIK management. The meeting witnessed intense debates as MPs raised concerns over what they deemed an "unfair and humiliating" treatment of the journalist, demanding explanations from RIK's leadership.
RIK's side clarified that the matter is considered closed, with RIK Board Chairman George Kenta issuing an apology and RIK News Director Giannakis Nikolaou announcing his intention to resign.
The committee also saw clashes, notably between Committee Chairwoman Irini Charalambidou and journalist Katerina Milioti. Milioti claimed that complaints about Ms. Roussou's behavior had been expressed, adding fuel to the already heated discussion.
The Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights Protection, Maria Stylianou Lottidi, presented preliminary conclusions from her office's investigation into the case.
Chronicle of the Case
The case drew widespread attention when it was revealed that Ms. Roussou was informed of her removal due to the show needing to become more interactive. This decision was met with backlash, and Ms. Roussou filed a complaint with the Commissioner for Administration. Presenters Eleni Vrettou and Paula Sponta were also informed of changes without their input, leading to their request for immediate release from presenting the show.
Union and Guilds Condemn Handling
Both the Cyprus Union of Journalists and the Cyprus Radio and Television Employees' Guilds SYTRIK and EVRIK condemned RIK's handling of the matter.
Affirmative Action for Disabilities
The Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights Protection stressed the importance of treating individuals with disabilities fairly and with favorable treatment, as mandated by law.
RIK Board Chairman George Kendis apologized for the incident and expressed the need to find solutions to restore working order at RIK.
Director of News Resigns
RIK's Director of News, Yiannakis Nicolaou, announced his resignation, acknowledging failures and mistakes in handling the situation.
Presenters Speak Out
Presenters Paula Sponda and Eleni Vrettou expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of consultation and labeled the handling of the matter as "unfair" and "humiliating."
Ministry of Interior Involvement
The Ministry of Interior requested an update on the situation but clarified its inability to intervene due to RIK having its own Board of Directors.
Union President's Critique
The President of the Cyprus Union of Journalists criticized RIK's management as unfair, callous, and methodical in its approach.
MPs Support Roussou
Members of Parliament expressed support for Ms. Roussou, emphasizing the need for equal treatment and facilities for individuals with disabilities.
The Root of the Problem:
The President of the Cyprus Paraplegics Organisation highlighted mistreatment as the root issue, calling for formal apologies and the implementation of professional policies.
Calls for Change
MPs urged RIK to become a role model in human rights issues and to address labor relations, emphasizing the importance of equal opportunities.
The meeting underscored the gravity of the situation and the need for RIK to address concerns raised by the committee and the public.
[This is a summary translation of the article originally written by Ioanna Kyriakou, published on Kathimerini.com.cy]