PIO - Mission & Role



Mission

The vision of the Press and Information Office is to operate effectively, as the government communication service. Part of the government’s communication with its citizens is the objective and continuous briefing of Cypriot citizens and the international community on all issues concerning Cyprus, the Cyprus problem and issues related to Cyprus’ participation in the European Union, taking full advantage of new information technologies.

In Cyprus the aim of the PIO is, through an effective communication strategy, to make the Government’s work, positions and activities understood by the citizens and to provide citizens with comprehensive information on all issues that concern them, are of interest to them and affect their lives. The ultimate goal is to achieve the effective participation of the citizens in the democratic functioning of the state as well as to inform citizens of their own obligations towards the state and at the same time of the opportunities and possibilities they can utilize for their benefit, either as citizens, professionals or organized groups. Another objective is informing public sector officials and officers about issues related to Cyprus in the local and international press.

Abroad, the aim is the comprehensive promotion of Cyprus and the creation of a positive image for the country and the best possible understanding and acceptance of Cyprus’ positions on important political, economic and cultural issues. Communication abroad is achieved through the resources of the PIO and the relations it has established with foreign media, academia and other organizations as well as politicians and other important people in these spheres.

Through the production of information material such as publications, electronic or printed, films and high quality multimedia CDs, the PIO aims to promote Cyprus and to substantially contribute to the achievement of the government’s policy objectives through effective communication at the lowest possible cost.

Moreover the PIO seeks to improve public access to the press releases, newspapers/magazines, publications, film and photo archives though the maintenance, digitization and upgrading of the archives and services offered.


Τhe role of the PIO as the state communication agency

Effective communication is crucial for the effective implementation of the government’s policy and, most importantly, for the successful provision of services to citizens. It has a major role to play in creating an added value to the policies that the government wishes to implement for the common good and in their implementation process.

In this context, the PIO operates as the communication agency when the government needs to communicate with the citizens in the following cases:


•To help the public understand the government programme
• To provide targeted information to citizens
• To facilitate the provision of state services to the public and citizens’ obligations to the state
• To enhance Cyprus’ image worldwide
• To inform the public about new legislation

More specifically, the Responsibilities of the PIO are as follows:


International Media
The PIO monitors, on a daily basis, articles and news reports in the international press, which relate to the Cyprus problem, or are of interest to Cyprus in general, as well as the international developments, and briefs the relevant government departments in Cyprus and the diplomatic missions of Cyprus abroad. All the important press reports are archived electronically for reference purposes. Furthermore, programmes of meetings and interviews with government officials are prepared for foreign journalists and correspondents, who visit Cyprus. Action and communication plans are prepared for the promotion of Cyprus in the countries holding the EU rotating presidency, which are implemented in collaboration with Cyprus' diplomatic missions abroad.

Turkish Issues
The PIO has the responsibility of monitoring the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot press and publishing a relevant daily bulletin in English. It also provides assistance and facilities to Turkish and Turkish Cypriot journalists and prepares informative reports on significant developments. Furthermore, it provides liaison services for the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot journalists who visit the government controlled areas to cover important events.

Publications
a) Ministries and Independent Offices' Publications: Following a decision of the Council of Ministers, the PIO was appointed as the principal publishing agency for government publications on a wide range of issues, which aim to inform the public in Cyprus and abroad and promote the government’s work. Over 300 publications or leaflets of the various government departments are issued every year in cooperation with private sector printing houses and the government printing office.
b) Enlightenment Publications: At the same time the PIO publishes foreign language publications annually to inform world public opinion on various facets of Cyprus life. The main publications are translated into most European languages and into languages of most countries in which Cyprus has diplomatic representation, including Arabic and Chinese. In order to keep world public opinion informed, the PIO also collaborates with distinguished scholars and experts for the publication and promotion of print material on Cyprus.

Promotion of Government Objectives and Priorities
The PIO is responsible for the communication and promotion of the main objectives and priorities of the Government on the basis of its own suggestions or at the initiative of the Ministries and following consultation and in coordination with the Ministries, as well as in the framework of the promotion of civil service reforms. The objective is the best possible and wider promotion of these priorities/goals, by making use of the means and tools available in the different Sections of the PIO (e.g. publications, audio-visual productions, photo exhibitions, website, etc.) and through the implementation of other communication methods (public consultations, press conferences, etc.) as well as comprehensive communication campaigns.

Photographic Coverage
The PIO is responsible for providing photographic coverage of government activities. These photographs are posted daily on the PIO website, appear in the publications and the photographic archive. They are also used by local and foreign mass media. There is photographic coverage of the activities of the President of the Republic (in Cyprus and abroad), the President of the House of Representatives and the Ministers, as well as of significant historical events taking place in Cyprus.


Development of Communications / Modern Technology
The PIO attaches great importance to the effective utilization of the possibilities of the internet, new communication technologies and interactive multimedia as well as the appropriate training of the personnel. The PIO is also responsible for the production of informative digital CDs and DVDs.

The PIO maintains, besides its official website (http://www.pio.gov.cy), five other websites:
http://www.cyprusonfilm.com
http://www.peri-kyprou.com
http://www.aspectsofcyprus.com
http://www.aboutcyprus.org.cy
http://www.piopressreleases.com.cy

The PIO’s short films on Cyprus are uploaded on the website www.cyprusonfilm.com. The websites www.peri-kyprou.com and www.aspectsofcyprus.com contain general information on Cyprus with a vast variety of photographs. The website www.aboutcyprus.org.cy contains information on tourism and Cyprus culture, and also general information. The website www.piopressreleases.com.cy contains digitized press releases from the PIO archive. Also included on this website are statements by the Government Spokesman (1976 – 1996), press releases of the House of Representatives (1981 – 2009) and press releases of the Greek Cypriot Negotiator (1979 – 1984).


International Relations
The PIO assists foreign personalities visiting Cyprus, such as university professors, organized groups, think tank representatives but also scholars and students, by preparing a visit programme or in some cases organizing special events. The purpose of these visits is to provide the visitors with primary information about significant political, economic, social and cultural developments taking place in the country.

Government Communication and Website Administration
One of the main responsibilities of the PIO is to edit, issue and distribute to the media in Cyprus press releases covering the work of the government – the Presidency, the Ministries and other departments. Through a network of liaison officers at the Ministries and the Presidential Palace as well as a team of web editors at the centre, the PIO promotes the work of the government through the official press coverage and publicity of the activities and statements of the President of the Republic, the Ministers, the Government Spokesman and other government officials. It cooperates closely with the Government Spokesman providing him with the necessary assistance for briefing the press and for the best possible coordination of the enlightenment campaign on the Cyprus problem. The transcript of the regular press briefing and the statements by the Government Spokesman are officially issued, distributed and posted on the PIO webpage. All government press releases (Greek and English) and the statements by the Government Spokesman are posted daily on the website. Acknowledging the significance of the role and the potential of social media in relation to communication issues, the PIO has a Facebook and twitter account as well as a YouTube channel and aspires to promote and utilize its social media presence in the best possible way.

Translations
The PIO is the official agency of the government for certified translations. In close cooperation with associate translators from the private sector, services at set fees are provided to the public. Services are also provided to government departments which need translations in various languages. A vast amount of translations from and to 27 languages both for the government and the general public, are undertaken.

European Issues
The PIO has also been assigned the duty of informing citizens on European issues. Within this framework it undertakes the coordination of the campaigns on EU policies, the various areas of its activities, its institutions and priorities of the EU communications strategy. Moreover, it undertakes the preparation of informative publications on European matters, the organization of functions and activities such as lectures, seminars, exhibitions, cultural events and the broadcasting of relevant programs in cooperation with the mass media.

Audiovisual Productions
The PIO, within the framework of Cyprus’ promotion at home and abroad, produces documentaries in cooperation with the private sector. The themes of the films are derived both from current affairs issues and from the goals and priorities of the government. Furthermore, the PIO produces a wide range of photographic exhibitions which are mostly dispatched abroad, but are also circulated within Cyprus in the framework of various events.


Local Media
Another responsibility of the PIO is the implementation of the Press Law and the registration of Cypriot and foreign language publications issued in Cyprus. The relevant section keeps record of all the newspapers and magazines circulating in Cyprus and registers the books published on the island, recording all the required information in the official Government Gazette. Moreover, the PIO issues and renews the official press cards for journalists and updates the media register.

Development of Archives

a) Press Archive
The PIO has the largest Press Archive in Cyprus, which is continuously being updated and used by a large number of researchers. The archive dates from 1878, when the first newspaper circulated in Cyprus, to the present. The PIO is currently in the process of digitizing this archival material and the digitized material is being transferred to a server with a search engine software program. The program is the only one of its kind and the only one in use in Cyprus.

b) Press Releases Archive
The PIO press releases archive, dating back to 1962, constitutes a significant source of information for the public and especially for researchers, students and journalists. The Press and Information Office, fully aware of the pressing need to harmonize and keep up-to-date with modern technology, is in the process of digitizing its archive and has made it accessible to the wider public through the website www.piopressreleases.com.cy.

c) Photographic Archive
The PIO photographic archive contains more than 1,000,000 negatives in various dimensions dating back to the 1950’s up until 2004 when the transition to digital photography was made. The photo archive is accessible and is being used mostly by researchers (journalists, authors, students, etc.) needing photographic material to back up their studies, as well as by organized social groups (universities, municipalities, associations, etc.) wishing to enrich their archives or compile a publication.

d) Research Centres
As part of efforts to render its digitized archives accessible to the public, the PIO, in collaboration with the Municipality of Limassol, opened on 14 November 2011 the first Research Centre where visitors can have direct access to the digitized press archives of the PIO. The Research Centre is located in Limassol at a refurbished building which also houses the Patticheion Municipal Museum – Limassol Historic Archive and Studies Centre. Meanwhile, there is an ongoing process for the setting up of another research centre in Nicosia.




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