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The National Broadcasting Council's standpoint on the threat to free speech in the public media
The National Broadcasting Council would like to once again call attention to a violation of the principles of autonomy, pluralism and independence of public media stipulated in both the Constitutional Tribunal's judgement as well as in numerous documents of the Council of Europe (including the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers) and the European Parliament.
The appointment of an active politician as President of TVP, who for numerous successive election campaigns was one of the primary authors of election propaganda for the current governing party, stands in direct opposition to the declared intention to keep the spheres of politics and public media separate.
The act subordinates both public media and the fate of its employees to the political will of those in power, regardless of their professional achievements or life circumstances. In the very first week of the new authorities' tenure at Telewizja Polska and Polskie Radio, several dozen persons from the editorial and reporting staff were dismissed or forced to resign. These include people whose names had been indicated numerous times earlier by politicians publicly warning of dismissals in the media. Such actions by the new leadership (particularly in the case of TVP) demonstrate that politicians' influence reaches far deeper into the structure of these institutions than mere management appointments, and they bear the marks of a political purge being carried out at the order of the governing party.
In studies and programming analyses commissioned by KRRiT from independent institutions, including monitoring of election campaigns in the media, Telewizja Polska had always been one of the broadcasters which best carried out their public mission, meeting such criteria as: objectivity, pluralism, balanced reporting and quality of work.
The National Broadcasting Council, as a constitutional authority standing as guardian of the public interest in radio and television broadcasting, calls attention to this lack of respect for the independence of public media and calls upon both the politicians of the leading Law and Justice party as well as the new leadership of Polskie Radio and Telewizja Polska to cease such actions, which may in time damage the independence of public media and lead to standards that are incompatible with journalistic ethics.
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