Thursday, 31 December 2015

And Then They Came for the Media...

Another day, another public institution. The ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) has continued to gain control over public institutions in Poland by passing a new media law through parliament on Wednesday. 

The new law (which will come into immediate effect after being signed by the President) allows the Minister of the Treasury to appoint and dismiss members of the boards of management and supervisory boards of Polish TV and Radio. Previously, members of the boards were appointed by the National Broadcasting Council. It also ends ends the terms of the current management of national broadcasters. 

Public media will change its name to national media, with the PiS MP, Elizbieta Kruk, saying in parliament that: 
“The public media are ignoring their mission towards the nation. Instead of creating a media shield for the Polish national interest, journalists often sympathize with negative opinions about Poland.”
The new bill has been heavily criticised by, amongst others the OSCE and the European Commission. Also a number of press freedom organisations from Europe signed a joint letter protesting against this new law, stating that

The introduction of a system whereby a government minister can appoint and dismiss at its own discretion the supervisory and management boards goes against basic principles and established standards of public service media governance throughout Europe. If the Polish Parliament passes these measures, which may happen today (30 December), Poland will create a regressive regime which will be without precedent in any other EU country.
 At the same time parliament has begun discussion on a new bill on the police and special services that would give them access to information from operators about people's activity online, without asking for permission from courts or informing those who had been effected once the investigation has been completed. 




2 comments:

  1. Mr. Rae. As a Pole and hardly a PiS voter, I respect and appreciate your critique of neoliberalism in Poland.
    Although, I have to mention here that the PiS law regarding the media is not entirely about "power" as the neoliberal press would want us to believe. The fact is that the public TV and radio stations were being financially driven into the ground by the pro-market PO gov't, in the end allowing for huge advertising airtime and a lot of commercial programs that are often simply on license from American producers. The public media "mission statement" was hardly given any justice up until now. Why is there no mention of the huge problems that the Polish public media have inherited, but just only one side of the story is told, and it just so happens to benefit foreign financial interest?

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  2. Hi, sorry I missed your comments earlier. I agree with all your criticisms of PO and the monopolisation of the media. And this is part of the problem we have. The previous government and policies of international financial institutions, etc have often greatly damaged Poland. The major critics of this have come from PiS and the right. However, because they criticise something does not mean that I have to agree with what they are doing now. The difficulty is opposing what PiS is doing at the moment whilst not backing Petru and international financial interests.

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Go for it - but if its abusive then it gets blocked