Poland goes for major sweep in public media outlets, seeking “impartiality”

Poland goes for major sweep in public media outlets, seeking “impartiality”

The Polish Parliament adopted a resolution on the need to restore the impartial operations of the country's public mass media (TVP, Polish Radio), as well as the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

The resolution adopted on Tuesday evening by the ruling majority caused a protest in the opposition party "Law and Justice" (PiS), which decided to personally defend the independence of the public media, including by deploying MPs for round-the-clock monitoring at the TVP HQ, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

More than a hundred PiS lawmakers did not participate in the relevant vote for the resolution in question.

Photo: Przemysław Czarnek / X

"The Sejm of Poland, guided by the task facing the constitutional state bodies to restore the foundations of a legal democratic state, the good of citizens, and public interests, considers unacceptable the ongoing open violation of law by public radio and television and the Polish Press Agency and the situation of  rights to information and the principle of political pluralism," the resolution says.

It adds that during the two parliamentary terms of the previous authorities, public mass media "lost their mission and role", defined as the right to and public need for access to unbiased information, and became a tool for spreading propaganda by Yaroslav Kaczyński's party and the PiS-led government.

The document notes that the lower house of parliament calls on the Ministry of State Property, which controls these public media platforms, to address the issue. In particular, the Sejm obliged the ministry to "immediately implement legislative steps that will guarantee a long-term restoration of the situation (of media – ed.) in line with the Constitution."

The issue sparked a heated debate in the Polish parliament. The PiS labeled the resolution "an attack by the new government on freedom of speech in the country." In the evening following the vote, PiS leader Kaczyński announced that groups of 10 lawmakers representing the party will monitor the situation at the main office of TVP 24/7.

"Our protest is about defending democracy because there is no democracy without media pluralism and without strong anti-government media, and in Poland it is the public media," Kaczyński said.

After the resolution was voted in, the newly-appointed Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz dismissed top managers of TVP, Polish Radio., and PAP, as well as members of their supervisory boards. New supervisory board members were appointed, which in turn appointed the new top managers of Polish public mass media platforms.

Even before coming to power, the parties that are now part of the ruling center-left coalition said that after winning the elections, one of the first steps of the new government would be to restore the impartiality of public media, which, in their opinion, had become the PiS mouthpiece. One of the steps was the liquidation TVP Info.


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