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27 May, 2024
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The country's digitization and other stories

'But how can the digitalization of the nation be discussed when the incoming presidential candidates either don't understand it or only know a little bit about it?'



by Dimitris Lottides

We heard a lot and very little during this election. Lots of one-liners, 'cockfighting', insults, and histrionics. Nothing was said regarding the substance. We discussed and wrote about the lack of debate on the economy and social issues in the surveys that determined the election's agenda twenty years ago when the Cyprus issue held sway over all other issues. The discussion of what is to come, such as digitization, sustainable development, affordable and environmentally friendly energy, environmental protection, and support for start-ups, is once again lacking today when the economy and immigration issues are dominating the polls.

This would signify a vote of confidence in Cypriot journalism and generate surplus paying Cypriot programmers and journalists while also encouraging private businesses to do the same.

But how can we talk about the country's digitalization when the new presidential candidates either don't know anything about it, only know a little bit about it for show, or don't believe in it? I have no other way to explain the mindless waste of money committed by our would-be 'bulls' in social media. It is deafening how little the candidates are investing in local digital media operations in terms of communications. This would signify a vote of confidence in Cypriot journalism and generate surplus value for the nation by paying Cypriot programmers and journalists while also encouraging private businesses to do the same.

One could argue for "market laws," in which everyone trades according to what they believe is best for them. That is correct. However, this argument reveals truths about their character. 2nd It also confirms that they cannot lead contrary to "fashion" and forge ahead against the tide. I hope I'm wrong, but I dare to say they're behaving worse than in previous elections because when the above was explained to the previous candidates, they saw the big picture and immediately directed a strategic shift in the Cypriot media.

One could say that Cypriot digital media is not influential, and that is why the candidates' chiefs of staff turned to Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook. Phew! The Cyprus Statistical Service itself, in a survey on citizens' web browsing habits, records that 75% of Cypriots are digitally informed by visiting Cypriot websites. One could also say that they invest in social media because it is the right environment to promote their ideas. But how? Those social media websites, that every now and then, are lambasted for being "toxic" and "miserable"? Is that where they want to advertise? Next to swearing, fake news and sex? Do they know what "brand safety" means, and that based on that, the international giants are slowly pulling out of Social, resulting in massive layoffs at these giant companies? One could finally say that I'm writing this because we didn't get an ad in the SppMedia Group. As a group, with activities in both billboards and radio, we are one of the relative beneficiaries of this election. But in any case, if they were placed on other digital media in the country and not on us, I would not have an issue that would justify this text.

So, given their low investment in newspapers and television, are the candidates ignoring the Cypriot media? But, if that were the case, wouldn't they be chasing journalists down every day, passing them agendas and complaining about the latest party that they perceive to be anti-them?

Is it, then, their fault? I'll leave that to you, along with the observation that Cyprus does not have a "captured" media.

[This op-ed was translated from its Greek original]


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