|Sunday, 9 March 2014|
Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO)
The Press and Information Office
RoleThe Press and Information Office (PIO) is a government department dealing with press matters and the dissemination of official information to local and foreign media and the public. It is entrusted with the task of publicising the work of the Government and the House of Representatives. It is also the central publishing agency for the Government and it has the task of monitoring the implementation of the Press and Cinema laws.
The Director of the PIO participates in the Radiobroadcasting and the Television Consultative Committees set up in 1990 and 1991 respectively, following the approval of legislation concerning private broadcasting. The Council of Ministers has also assigned to the PIO the task for the official certification of translations.
HistoryThe Press and Information Office is the successor of the Public Information Office, which was established towards the end of World War II, at the time of British colonial rule of Cyprus. During the liberation struggle of the Greek Cypriots against the British (1955-59) the Office served as a propaganda instrument of the British Administration under the direction of the well-known novelist, Lawrence Durrel.
After the declaration of independence in 1960 the Cyprus Government established the Public Information Office of the Republic of Cyprus. In 1965 the role of the Office was upgraded through the appointment of the Director of the PIO also as Government Spokesman. First Government Spokesman was Miltiades Christodoulou.
The jurisdiction of the Office was further broadened after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 when the President of the Republic, Archbishop Makarios, assigned to it the task of the enlightenment of world public opinion on the Cyprus problem. In the years that followed, the PIO developed into the specialised multi-faceted organisation that it is now. Within this new concept, its name was also changed to Press and Information Office.
Since 1983 the posts of Government Spokesman and Director of the PIO are separate ones. The former is a political post and the latter a public service appointment. Today's Government Spokesman is Yiannakis Cassoulides, appointed by President Glafcos Clerides and George Hadjisavvas is the Director of the PIO.
StructureThe PIO structure provides for three divisions, with four sections each, and an administrative unit:
The Local Media and Public Relations DivisionThe Central News Room is responsible for the issuing of all press releases and statements on all matters concerning government machinery and the Public Relations Section covers the activities of the President, ministers and other officials. It is also responsible for the publicity of government activities. The Local Media Section is responsible for the implementation of the provisions of the Press Law.
A Press Centre has recently been created by the PIO for use by both local and foreign journalists. The Centre will also house the Communications and Mass Media Institute which is currently being set up.
The recently-established Research/Training and Development of Communications Section has been assigned the task of undertaking research regarding the various aspects of the Cyprus problem and the compilation of texts for enlightenment purposes. The section is also charged with the planning of training of PIO personnel and the monitoring of technological and legislative developments in the field of mass communications.
The PIO possesses a rich library and archives, put at the disposal of interested persons. It has created a micro-film archive of newspapers, including the very first, dating from the beginning of British colonial rule in 1878.
Publications, Cinema and Audio-Visual Productions DivisionThe Division is responsible for all government publications (covering all government periodicals, books and booklets in Greek, English and other languages), for the photographic section, as well as the distribution of other audio-visual material (films, video films, radio and television programmes etc.).
The PIO publications are divided into two categories:
The Division also translates or certifies translations of documents and texts for the broader public sector and the private sector.
The Division has in addition been assigned the responsibility for the setting up and operation of the Cyprus Film Archive.
It is also involved in, and partly finances, the production of feature or documentary films by Cypriot or foreign film-makers. To this end the Cinema Advisory Committee set up to promote a local cinema industry.
The Foreign Press and International Public Relations DivisionThe Division deals with the briefing of international media and public opinion and monitors the international and Turkish Cypriot/Turkish press and other media . It also assists in the organisation of conferences taking place on the island and has the overall responsibility for preparing the programmes of visiting foreign journalists and other personalities and briefing them on Cyprus.
The Division also includes the Press Offices (Abroad) Section. Currently there are sixteen press offices in the main embassies/missions of the Republic of Cyprus abroad. The PIO maintains contact by telefax communication with the Press Offices and the Cyprus Embassies abroad for two-way briefing.
AdministrationThe unit includes the Administrative Office, the Secretarial Services Section and the Accounts Office. The administrators are responsible for matters concerning personnel working at central office or in press offices in diplomatic missions of the Republic abroad. The Secretarial Services Section is responsible for secretarial and archival work.
Finally, the Accounts Office is responsible for the preparation, in collaboration with the various branches, of the PIO's annual budget and the monitoring of expenditure which is provided for in the budget.