Polish Government Takes Over State Media

tvp logo

Logo of Poland’s only public broadcaster

In early January Polish President Andrzej Duda signed a law taking the Polish state media out of the hands of independent management and placing it under the direct control of his cabinet. The move, decried by human rights watchdogs and the European Union, was explained by Duda as an effort to ensure the media becomes more “objective”, putting the Treasury Department in charge of making hiring decisions. The law also fired every manager within the country’s public broadcaster Telewizja Polska effective immediately. In response, the Council of Europe’s human rights commission issued call for an immediate meeting on January 13th to discuss the state of the rule of law in the nation of Poland, and potentially issue a recommendation that Poland lose its voting rights in the European Union, though commissioners underplayed this possibility.

The result of the meeting was tepid, and did not result in any changes within the Polish decision-making or media trends. According to Yahoo!, “The minister immediately appointed right-wing politician and journalist, former European Parliament member, Jacek Kurski, to head the state TV. Kurski said he will look to put state TV at the heart of the country’s national values and traditions.” The nation’s private broadcasters remain independent, however Polish journalists and broadcasters have led mass demonstrations in response to the new law, including marches of several thousands denouncing the move as anti-democratic.

 

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