Can the public find out who owns the media through free access to the essential information required?
In Cyprus it is not possible to identify owners of any kind of media through media-specific laws or through company law. The Press Law, which is largely based on Colonial British laws, is outdated and mostly inoperative with many provisions still criminalising offences. Under the Press Law, print media do not require have to disclose any information about shareholders, beneficial owners or those with an indirect interest. In reality, because Cyprus is a small society, almost everyone knows who owns the five main dailies which have been under the same ownership for decades now.
The broadcast media, under the Law on Radio and Television, have to report a lot more information to the media regulator but crucially there is need to disclose the exact size of shares held by each person. Without this information, those with higher /decisive size of shareholding cannot be identified and the real owners not identified, therefore.
Under the Companies Law a lot of information must be disclosed by media that are registered companies and this information is accessible to the public. However, it is common practice in Cyprus for the clients to use nominee shareholders and Cypriot law protects the anonymity of the beneficial owners meaning that the ultimate owner cannot be identified.
DRAFT – FOR PUBLIC CONSULTATION: This research has been carried out by national experts and is open for consultation. Please let us know if you have any suggestions, or if you spot any errors or omissions by emailing email@example.com.
Cyprus Press Law (unofficial translation)
Law on Radio and Television Stations (unofficial translation)
Normative Administrative Acts