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Cyprus Editorial: Thank God for free speech

05 March, 2014 | Posted By: Financial Mirror

Although the Cyprus media scene is admittedly still immature, with broadcasters and publishers on occasion getting carried away by nationalist or other sentiment, allowing every Thomas, Yiannis and Costis to air their views, very often allows for a delightful alternative to the small, yet vibrant local stand-up comedy scene.
Many don’t realise that freedom of speech goes both ways: freedom to express your views, as stupid as they may be, balanced with a freedom to be heard. This second part is what some antiquated trade unions and old-school politicians have yet to grasp. Many insist that it is their God given right to say whatever crosses their mind, as far away from logic and reality as they may be, but refuse to listen to the alternative, simply because they cannot consider anything different from what they have been farmed to think for the past five decades.
And yet, it is sometimes amusing to hear union bosses, scared that they are losing membership by the bushel, talk of doom and gloom, and that all will be lost the day after the privatisation bill passes through parliament. Cyprus, they say, is on the verge of a national destruction (as if we weren’t there already) and that the livelihood of the island’s economy, even the solution of the Cyprus problem, lies with the prosperity of the workers at semi-government organisations; preserving their pension rights is paramount to dealing with climate change, abolition of slavery and even the Russian invasion of Crimea.
Perhaps, Cypriot consumers will now be able to breathe some fresh air as free competition will finally allow for prices to go down and the quality of services to go up, something union bosses could never comprehend. Some agencies that have passed their sell-by date ought to have been shut down ages ago, replaced with competitive services provided by private companies, many of which might even consider hiring civil servants who know the ropes around the government machine or how an SGO works.
But to stomp their feet on air, like cry-babies whining over the fact that a radio presenter may have cut them off, simply because they exceeded their air-time, shows how immature some union and party officials may be.
Hopefully, we will see less meddling by political parties and more involvement of society in general, and the likes of Cyta, EAC, Ports Authority and others giving us some good news for a change, reporting on their achievements and how reforms will benefit the consumer and much troubled citizen.
Times have changed. We no longer live in the 1960s where most were from poor or struggling families and public jobs-for-the-boys were a considered a tool to win the next elections. Privileges must be removed where they are undeservedly given and rewards must be introduced for those who work hard.
With privatisation coming our way, let’s get the ‘Cyprus’ brand working again.