OBITUARY: Tributes for ANT1 chief, pioneer lawyer

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Tributes have poured in for Loukis Papaphilippou, an authority on law and the Cyprus constitution, champion of free broadcasting and patron of the arts, who died aged 84.

Papaphilippou was admired for his proficiency and sharp judgment in law matters and was highly sought after establishing his firm in the early 1960s, soon after independence.

Aware of freedom of speech and press freedom, which he successfully defended in several landmark cases, he grabbed the opportunity to enter into broadcasting in Cyprus through an old friendship with Greek shipping and media tycoon Minos Kyriakou, who established the Antenna Group in Greece.

As a result, Antenna Cyprus (ANT1) went on air in June 1993 with Papaphilippou at the helm as its executive chairman and sole owner, piloting the TV and radio station in an uphill battle for privately-owned broadcasting in Cyprus, breaking the state-owned monopoly for nearly four decades.

Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou summed up Papaphilippou’s contribution saying he was a “very important figure in modern Cypriot history, not only for what he did in the field of radio and television but much more during the EOKA struggle for independence from his student years.

“He played a key role as a student of the Pancyprian high school during the resistance to the British colonial rule, but also for his long contribution to the law through his publications.

“Loukis Papaphilippou leaves only good memories, and the fact he leaves us now is a significant loss for our country and its people.”

President Nicos Anastasiades expressed “deep regret for the loss of my dear friend”.

Many who worked with Papaphilippou, either in his law firm or at Antenna TV, praised his encouragement and mentorship of young trainees.

Honorary Consul

Having served as Honourary Consul of Poland for many years, the embassy paid tribute, recalling his contribution in strengthening Cyprus-Polish relations at a business and cultural level and contributing generously to education programmes in Warsaw.

Political parties expressed their sorrow, as did the EOKA veterans’ societies, and the Cyprus Bar Association, where he served as chair from 1988 to 1994.

The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce called him a prominent and active member, receiving the KEVE Business Leader Award in 2017. Employers’ federation Director-General Michalis Antoniou praised his “amazing mind.”

Recognising his contribution to the maritime sector, Shipping Chamber Director General Thomas Kazakos said: “Your hard work in the establishment and development of Cypriot shipping remains unforgettable to us who worked with you.”

Friends and acquaintances commended his ethos and loyalty.

Loukis Papaphilippou was born in 1937, a graduate of the Law Faculty of the University of Athens and practised law with an emphasis on litigation.

He was in practice since 1963 and served as President of the Nicosia Bar Association (1982-1988) and President of the Cyprus Bar Association (1988–1994).

Loukis was a member of the Council of the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association, the Legal Council of Cyprus, the Law Reform Committee established by the Council of Ministers to modernise Shipping Legislation.

He chaired the tenth Commonwealth Law Conference (1993); was the first President of the Propeller Club of the United States, International Port of Limassol, and was decorated by several countries, including the Order General Jose de San Martin of Argentina, the Officer’s Cross of the Medal of Merit of the Republic of Poland (presented by President Lech Walesa), Commendatore dell’ Ordine Al Merito Della of Italy, and in 2005 Knight Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, presented by President Aleksander Kwasniewski.

Loukis published legal and literary works extensively in English and Greek and spoke fluent Turkish.

He is succeeded by his wife Iro, children Leandros, Antigoni and Elena, and six grandchildren.

The funeral service will be held on Tuesday at Ayios Nektarios church in Aglandjia, and he will be buried in his birthplace, Potamia.

Instead of flowers and wreaths, the family requested donations to the Papastavros Papagathangelou foundation and the Greek Ladies’ Society ‘Mana’.