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News media outlets and owners
Country report 2023

Christiana Andreou, Stella Charitou, Stella Siafkou, Nicolas Tsapatsoulis

Table of Contents

Introduction to the country

Cyprus is a small-sized media market, populated by a number of media outlets in operation, but with a quite limited audience. According to the latest (2021) census the population of the Republic of Cyprus (i.e., excluding the occupied by Turkey northern part) approximates 0.9 millions[1].

Cyprus media outlets play a crucial role in keeping people informed about important topics including politics, economy, foreign affairs, etc. By providing regular news updates and (in some cases) in-depth analysis, these outlets help citizens stay up-to-date on the latest developments in their country and around the world. In contrast to other European countries and with Greece with which Cyprus shares similar culture (and in some cases media outlets especially in the broadcasting sector), the ability of traditional print and broadcast media to shape public opinion and influence decision-making is rather limited. Traditionally, media people and journalists avoid expressing in a strong way personal opinions and try to keep impartiality. The fact that the market is small and that most media outlet owners are coming for the area of media is an explanation for that. However, due to the very high adoption of social media platforms and the free access to a plethora of online media outlets the risk of getting misinformation and consuming fake news is quite high. Thus, the actual public opinion shapers in Cyprus are the social media and the news portals with the broadcasting sector (especially TV) to be also contributors to that. On the contrary, the influence of print media is negligible.

The broadcasting sector is dominated by television, with eight private TV channels (Alpha TV, Omega Channel CY, Antenna TV, Sigma TV Channel, Capital TV, Extra TV, Plus TV, Vergina TV) and one public broadcaster, Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) operating in the country[2]. The digital switchover facilitates the ability of viewers to access digital TV. In addition to linear TV channels, hybrid TV platforms are becoming increasingly popular, with companies such as Primetel offering services that combine live TV with video-on-demand content.

In terms of radio, there are over 20 radio stations in operation (Trito Programma CYBC, Channel 6, Radio Proto, Politis, Astra, etc.), broadcasting mostly in Greek, with some stations also broadcasting in English and other languages. The radio industry in Cyprus is relatively small, with a mix of public, private and community radio stations.

The digital media landscape in Cyprus has seen significant growth in recent years, with more people turning to online news sources and social media platforms for their news and information. The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the media market in Cyprus, with a decrease in print media sales and an increase in online media consumption. To adapt to the changing media landscape, many traditional media outlets have launched online platforms, such as Sigmalive, Philenews, and Cyprus Mail.

In summary, Cyprus (given its population) has a highly competitive media market with an oversupply of media outlets, especially in the online media sector since the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital media consumption. At first glance, media ownership concentration is not a concern. It appears that there is a pluralism of owners in the TV broadcasting sector while the radio sector is highly competitive. However, not all the owners of the TV broadcasting sector are purely related with journalism and/or media activities. The clearest example here is the owner of ALPHA TV Cyprus (C.A. Papaellinas ltd.).

The research sample used to investigate the Media Ownership transparency in Cyprus, according to the EurOMo methodology[3], consists of five TV channels, five radio stations, four daily newspapers, and five online news sites. The selection was based on the market share. The larger ratings on mainstream newscasts served as the criterion for selecting the five TV channels for the research sample. Those TV channels are Alpha TV (15.10%), RIK 1 (13%), Omega Channel CY (11%), Antenna TV (10.10%) and Sigma TV Channel (8.10%). These numbers reflect the Nielsen Audience Measurements on December 5–12, 2022[4] while the latest market share measurement is for the week 26/6-2/7/2023.

Selection of radio stations to be included in the sample was trickier since there is no single measurement method for market shares. Nevertheless, taking into account the morning news slot, five radio stations were chosen: Trito Programma CYBC (16.7%), Channel 6 (12%), Radio Proto (10.7%), Astra (5.9%) and Politis (5.1%)[5]. ANT1 (13.5%) and Prwto Programma CYBC (5.6%) were excluded due to the inclusion of the corresponding TV channels in the sample.

All four daily newspapers, that is, Phileleutheros (The Liberal), Politis (Citizen), Alithia (Truth), and Haravgi (Dawn)[6] were included in the sample. Cyprus Mail, despite being also a daily newspaper, was left out because it serves only the international audience of Cyprus and is published in English. Nevertheless, its market share (printed version) is far below the other four newspapers.

The selection of news portals was based on pageviews measured through Google Analytics in September 2022[7]. (18.11M pageviews), (17.55M pageviews), (15.96M pageviews), (13.09M pageviews) and (5.51M pageviews) are the five media news sites included in the sample. We should note here that as of April 2023 Google Analytics measurements regarding the pageviews, visitors and other metrics are collected by the School of Communication and Media Studies on behalf of COPA[8] (Cyprus Online Publishers Association) for its members on a monthly basis[9]. However, only two (, of the portals included in the sample are COPA members.

The media outlets in Cyprus and their owners

The media landscape in Cyprus is quite simple: Two of the four daily newspapers included in the sample are closely related with political parties, namely Alithia with DHSY (right) and Haravgi with AKEL. This is justified officially by the owners of these newspapers. Nasos Koukos, one of Haravgi owners, is a registered member and the Provincial youth secretary of AKEL at Nicosia. On the other hand, Frixos Koulermos, one of the owners of Alithia, is a registered member of DHSY. Those relations are not hidden and known to the public.

The other two newspapers, Phileleftheros and Politis, are expressing opposite views regarding the way issues in Cyprus should be considered. Politis is expressing a more realistic and pragmatic view, expressing more or less the majority of DHSY (liberal) and AKEL (left) voters while Phileleftheros follows a more nation-centric and tough stance, expressing the majority of centre-right (DHKO, DHPA) and centre-left (EDEK) parties. As a result of the above, these two newspapers supported different presidential candidates during the last Presidential Elections in Cyprus (February 2023). Nevertheless, the owners of both newspapers are not officially associated with any of the political parties in Cyprus.

As far as the broadcasting radio sector is concerned, Astra is owned by the same people as the Haravgi newspaper, which shows a rather direct relation with AKEL. This relation may be not clearly evident to the public as is the case with Haravgi newspaper. Politis radio is also owned by the same people as the Politis newspaper while Radio Proto belongs to a major media group of Cyprus, Dias Ekdotikos Oikos Ltd, which also owns a TV channel (Sigma TV), and a news portal ( We will refer later to this company and its owners when discussing the broadcasting TV sector. Trito Programma belongs to RIK which is the public media outlet of Cyprus. Finally, Channel 6 is run exclusively by journalists, and it is owned by Michalis Papaevagorou. This radio station is probably the more independent voice of all media outlets in Cyprus without any hidden ownership structure and without any clear relationships with political parties or companies operating outside the media sector.

The online media outlets are an interesting case in Cyprus. They are quite popular, and probably the major source of news for most Cypriots at the ages 18-65. It is already mentioned that is owned by the Dias Ekdotikos Oikos Ltd along with Sigma TV and Radio Proto. The is a new player in the field. It is very likely that it is related with a Greek newspaper (to Thema) but its owner (Sergios Soteriou) is not affiliated officially with any political party or company operating outside the media sector. is owned by the same people as the Phileleftheros newspaper while and do not relate with any outlet operating in a different media sector. The ownership of is not very clear. Andreas Eracleous appears to be the owner. However, it seems that there is an indirect relationship of this news portal with the current Minister of Internal Affairs Constantinos Ioannou. Finally, owners do not appear to have relationships with any political party, but their company (Ms Meridien Corporate Services Ltd) is registered with a NACE code 64 (financial service activities) which is not related with a media sector.

The broadcasting TV sector is a bit more complicated in terms of ownership. In addition to the RIK which is the public TV, funded by the state, the remaining four TV outlets operating at the national level have individual characteristics. Omega Channel is known to be related with the Cyprus Church since Logos Information and Cultural Company is the official owner company of Omega Channel Ltd along with Dimosthenis Xrisomilas and Ioannis Xasikos. Ioannis Xasikos has a public affiliation with a political party (DHSY – Democratic Rally) being with party’s group for investment and development[10] while he is also related with the ownership of various other companies within and outside the media sector: Ν.P.F. Radio Epistrofi Limited, Sovvage Holdings Limited, Supersport F.M. (Cyprus) Limited, Desposicu Capital Ltd, Marisko Investments Limited, YNB Consulting Ltd, and Athenaeum Hoteling Ltd.

Antenna Limited is the direct owner of Antenna TV Cyprus. It is owned by Theo Kyriakou (the owner of ANT1 group in Greece), the MBC – group (owned by Waleed Bin Ibrahim), the Cyproliaison Ltd[11] and a number of individuals including Andreas Fellas, Antigoni Papafilippou, Kostas Xidias, Loukis Papafilippou, Ntinos Taki Leukariti, Leandros Papafilippou, Panikos Pamporis, Stelios Malekos, and Christakis Christofidis. Some of them hold shares of Cyrpoliaison Ltd along with other companies not related to the media sector: Paphelco Imports-Exports is owned by Andreas Fellas, Antigoni Papafilippou owns Blueland Holdings Limited and holds shares of Palexpo Overseas Trading Limited, Loukis Papafilippou also hold shares of Palexpo Overseas Trading Limited. Ntinos Taki Leukariti is the legal owner of Famagusta Citrus Waste Control Company Limited. Stelios Malekos is the legal owner of Freestar Brokers Limited and Homeline Appliances Limited. Christakis Christofidis is the legal owner of two companies: School of Music ”Adagio for Soul” and X.A.N Motor Express.

Alpha TV Cyprus is owned by Alpha Radio and Television Company Ltd which in turn is owned by Χ.Α. Papahellinas Emporiki Ltd and a number of individuals (Giorgos Theodotou, Christina Dimadi Loizou, Aimilios Mitsiggas, and Christoforos Christoforou). Christos Papaellinas the owner of Χ.Α. Papahellinas Emporiki Ltd, is related with ownership of a number of companies outside the media sector: G. Nicolaou Pharmacy Limited Selekt C.A. Papaellinas Ltd, M.P. Healthcare Ltd, Linette Trading Ltd and Houpa Ltd. Χ.Α. Papahellinas Emporiki Ltd owns Alphamega (a major supermarket chain in Cyprus), Beauty Line and C.A.P. Pharmacy Line. None of these companies has a direct relationship with the media sector. C. Papaellinas and several members of his family were public supporters of the current President of the Republic of Cyprus during the presidential elections of February 2023.

Sigma Radio T.V Public Limited is the direct owner of Sigma TV. Sigma Radio T.V Public Limited is owned by Dias Ekdotikos Oikos Ltd (the owner company of and Radio Proto) and a number of individuals including Iosif Iosif, Karolina Fotiadou, Leoni Mauronikola Paraskevaidou, Nikos Mauronikolas, Chrisanthos Tsouroullis and Vassos Antoniades. Karolina Fotiadou is related with the ownership of Photos Photiades Investments Holding Company Limited while Nikos Mauronikolas is the owner of N. Mavronicolas Cosmo Architects. The legal owners of Dias Ekdotikos Oikos Ltd are Chrisanthos Tsouroullis, Iosif Iosif, Stella Ioannidou, Petra Argirou and Xanthi Markou. Iosif Iosif is related to the ownership of a number of companies that are not directly related with the media sector including Joe’s Date Club, Multi-paper Trading and Jj Executive Card.

In summary, the owners of media outlets (especially broadcasting TV and online media) in Cyprus are mostly business people, acting in a number of economic areas that are not related to the media sector. Furthermore, quite a few of them have direct relations with political parties and politicians while one TV channel is under the direct influence of Cyprus Church. Concentration of media outlets is not an issue; there is only one case of concern (Dias Ekdotikos Oikos Ltd) which holds shares in a number of outlets acting in different media sectors, namely broadcasting TV, broadcasting radio and online news.

Findings and main risks regarding the media owner transparency in Cyprus

The Registry of Companies, Trade Names and Partnerships in Cyprus, is a publicly accessible source where anyone can find, based on an internal search engine, all registered companies issued by the Cyprus Companies and Organisations Management Sector. There is no separate register specialising only in companies related to SMEs. Therefore, it is necessary for the user to assume basic knowledge, which is relevant to the names of the SME companies under investigation. Within these documents, Organisation Name of the companies/organisations, their Registration numbers, Organisation Type Code of company/organisation, Organisation Status Date, etc. are indicated. Apart from this information, there was also the organisational structure of the SME companies, such as the board of directors. The information is accessible to the general public, who can monitor these companies through this register. Initially, when you go to the website of the register, there seems to be complete transparency. However, in order to get information about the shareholdings and the revenues of the companies you need to issue a search request which costs 50 euros per case.

Another important issue is the difficulty to find information regarding any public subsidies and revenue from public advertising the media outlets in Cyprus got. We consider that such information should be provided directly by the State for easy access and check by the public.

Ownership transparency is examined from four different perspectives: 1) the Legal level ( news media owners and forms of ownership recognised by the relevant authorities), 2) the Financial level (financial beneficiaries, funders and media funding models, as well as involvement of other business interests in their funding), 3) the Managerial level (stakeholders who determine the media’s editorial objectives and allocation resources) and 4) the Relational level (related individuals, groups or institutions with the capacity to influence the ultimate decision-making power in the media, particularly in political ties).

In terms of the legal level, the ownership of media outlets in Cyprus can be easily tracked. The actual owners are retrieved from the Registry of Companies, Commercial Names and Cooperatives. For newspapers, the owner companies are listed on the first pages (e.g. from time to time, several publications appear in the (online) press about the persons legally owning the media companies, especially when mergers or changes in the shareholding composition take place. The information presented on the websites of the media outlets, regarding ownership, is not always present and only in a few cases is updated. Information concerning the number of employees working at these outlets is easily accessible for most of the outlets included in the sample with the exception of Alpha TV Cyprus, Sigma TV, Astra radio station, Politis (radio station), Alithia newspaper, Haravgi newspaper, and Information regarding the people in charge (CEO, managing director, general director, or similar position who holds the economic management) and editors (editorial responsibility) can be easily found. A few exceptions also hold:, and On the other hand, in none of the media outlets’ websites information regarding the responsibility of choosing the editors-in-chief was found.

Information concerning the financial level and more specifically sponsorships, shareholdings, revenue from direct public subsidies, from advertising and other public bodies and authorities, but also on other forms of public support received, such as VAT reduction, indirect support (e.g. reduced postal/telecom tariffs) is not openly available to citizens. Here, it is important to note that information mainly related to the financial management (income/expenditure/grants/advertising) of each company (including direct media owner companies) could be only obtained against payment, as already mentioned above. Information about revenues was only available for RIK 1 (public TV) for the academic years 2020 and 2021. We consider that in Cyprus, the most vulnerable aspect of media ownership transparency relates to the financial profile of media outlets.

Information concerning the management level, i.e. the persons who make important decisions for the members of each media outlet’s editorial board, is, in general, not available. It seems that the media outlets mostly adopt an ownership-centred approach when the dismissal or appointment of an editor-in-chief takes place outside the newsrooms. In such cases, media organisations have never disclosed any information about the procedures that ensure the independent expression of editors’ views.

Now, as far as the relational level is concerned, a number of media outlets were found to have direct or indirect relations with external institutions. Omega Channel is basically owned by Cyprus Church, RIK 1 TV and the Trito Programma radio station are solely funded by the Republic of Cyprus being a public TV and radio station respectively. Astra radio station and Haravgi newspaper have a common ownership team of people related to AKEL (political party). The same also holds for Alithia newspaper which is related to DHSY (political party). In addition, a number of politically exposed people, involved in the ownership of media outlets, are actively involved in Cyprus politics including Ioannis Hasikos (Omega Channel), Nassos Koukos (Haravgi newspaper) and Chrysanthos Tsourooulis, the CEO of Dias Publishing House (Sigma TV Channel), who is the partner of the former Minister of Justice. In addition, C. Papaellinas (Alpha TV Cyprus) and members of his family were actively and publicly supporting the presidential candidacy of the current President of the Republic of Cyprus.

In general, the direct owner companies of media outlets are related to the media sector. There are two exceptions though: X.A. Papaellinas Emporiki Ltd, which owns shares of the Alpha TV Cyprus, acts in retail sales, etc. while Ms Meridien Corporate Services Ltd, which owns shares in, is engaged in financial services activities, other than insurance and pension funding. However, if you go deep in the ownership chain you end-up with owners (natural-persons) acting in a number of economic areas that are not related to media. In addition, some of these business people are active in Cyprus politics.

Distribution of media content

Despite the popularity of news portals in Cyprus, distribution of digital media content does not pose any serious risks regarding news prioritisation and possible agenda setting. As a result, ownership transparency of the content distributors cannot be seen as an actual risk. On the other hand, print media (not popular anyway) reach nearly the whole country and the entire population and there are no official reports or claims of discrimination.

The TV sector is characterised by a high infrastructure diversity (through DTT and IPTV systems), accompanied by conditions of fierce competition among multiple organisations of TV channels, owned by a number of different owners, which, given the population of Cyprus, is rather high. By contrast, in the radio sector, even though there are multiple distributors of content, forming an audio field of intense competition, the infrastructure diversity can be considered as low. For instance, only a few radio stations are using the DAB / DAB+ options via the free digital broadcasting infrastructure or the subscription based platforms. On the other hand, most (if not all) of the radio stations are broadcasting through the Internet.

The public broadcaster RIK is a universal provider of digital broadcasting services, being obliged to cover the entire Cyprus territory with a digital signal (DAB, DAB+ included). In the field of subscription-based IPTV, there are several companies offering their digital audiovisual services (Cytavision, Cablenet, Epic) to the whole population with a high infrastructure diversity (DTT, CATV, IPTV, DTH) in a situation of competition (multiple operators of different owners). According to the DESI connectivity indicator (2022) Cyprus is ranked 13th with the DESI close to 60. The fact that the main Internet providers[12] (Cyta, Primetel, Cablenet, Epic) are offering digital audiovisual services themselves is an issue because they are mainly emphasising sports content and movies / series rather than news.

The Cypriot NRA reports no relevant infringements. Suspect cases are independently investigated and eventually clarified, with high compliance by internet providers. Office of Electronic Communications & Postal Regulation’s main findings were that Cyprus’ ISPs are acting in conformity with the provisions of the Regulation and the Decree[13] (high compliance, no recidivism). There are rare (one case) and no recurring infringements.

Direct online access to news is higher than that obtained via Facebook or other information intermediaries (which is, though, higher than print and broadcasting news consumption) and has higher news consumption levels than digital information intermediaries. Most of the relevant intermediaries in Cyprus either provide no information or disclose general criteria on pages that cannot be reached from the content area. While some intermediaries inform that paid content might get prioritised, they do not promise to disclose the existence of commercial agreements behind this content.

The legal framework

In theory, the importance of the issue of transparency is evident in the State of Cyprus. In fact, the law provides that the ownership, financial situation and financing of the media must be disclosed. There are five different laws which relate to those (and many other, including ownership transparency, competition, etc.) issues. The main Press Law (145/1989) covers mostly print media, for instance the statutory newspaper manager. The Law on Radio and Television Organisations (7(Ι)/1998) covers mostly the broadcasting sector (including digital content) and refers (among others) to the number of allocated licences, ownership transparency, financial reporting, etc. The Law for the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation covers the public media outlet of Cyprus and includes provision also for the role of RIK (CyBC) as the national digital broadcasting provider. The other two laws (the recent Competition Law – 13(I)/2022, and the Law on the Right of Access to Public Sector Information Act – 184(Ι)/2017) are quite generic and refer mainly to companies (within or outside the media sector). Both of them are the result of transferring EU regulation to the context of Cyprus.

All the previously mentioned laws are subject to successive additions, amendments or replacements, making it difficult to understand the depth of the regulation they aim at.

Cyprus has a rigid legal system for property transparency. The Press Law and the Law on Radio and Television Organisations apply, but not to all types of opinion-forming media. Media outlets are obliged to disclose their ownership scheme publicly and in sufficient detail. However, they are mostly covering print and broadcasting media. Online media outlets channels have no legal obligation to provide ownership information.

The responsibility for securing media ownership transparency is given to Cyprus Radio-Television Authority (CRTA). Issues related to (media) competition are co-examined by the Cyprus Competition Commission and the Cyprus Radio-Television Authority. Once a year, media outlets must (re)publish / update information about their ownership structure while changes during the year must be also made publicly available. In addition, for radio and TV outlets a disclosure of shareholder and beneficiary information (in the case of private outlets) must be also made publicly available. In order to ensure diversity, owners who want to hold shares in other media outlets are restricted to 5% (or less) of the shares.

Public authorities or media companies have a legal obligation to disclose state/public funding to the Cyprus Broadcasting Authority, but this is not always the case. There are provisions for applying, automatically, tough sanctions including operation suspension. However, such sanctions are rarely applied in practice while financial sanctions are rather soft and do not deprive licence to practise. As far as journalists are concerned, they follow self-regulation, i.e. the obligation to comply with the Code of Conduct for the Journalistic Profession, which has been formulated by journalists’ associations, but there is no specific law covering this issue.

As to the field of digital information intermediaries, in the Cyprus legal framework there is no specific provision that addresses the issues of transparency in content curation.


Media ownership transparency needs to be systematically monitored in all media channels involved in the provision and distribution of news. Information relating to the legal, financial, relational and managerial levels of all media outlets must be examined with scrutiny and should be easily accessible by the public.

Starting with the legal context, the current research concluded that this information is direct and accessible. At the relational level it is clear which media outlets have close links with political parties or individuals. In contrast, information on the economic level, i.e., funding models, public subsidies and revenue from public advertising, and the managerial level, i.e. how the independence of the Editorial Board is secured, who determines the resources for news distribution, etc., is not accessible to the general public.

An issue of concern is that most of the natural owners of media outlets are related also with the ownership of companies acting in economic areas different from the media sector. Also, in two cases even the direct owner company of a media outlet has a NACE code irrelevant to the media sector.

The legal framework that covers the operation of media outlets, despite being complex, is sufficient. However, when it comes to enforcing this legal framework in practice the situation is quite different, since it is rather difficult to apply hard sanctions.

The online media sector, while popular, is not covered sufficiently by law provisions and this is evident also in ownership transparency.

Country report published in September 2023