The new Donald Tusk-led Polish government has been accused of engaging in “a barbaric attack on freedom of speech and journalistic independence” after seizing control of the state broadcaster TVP Info, taking several of its channels off the air, and taking further punitive actions against other state broadcasters.
In addition to taking over TVP Info and restricting some of its channels, Poland’s new ruling coalition also fired the heads of TVP Info, the public broadcaster Polskie Radio, and the state-run news agency Polish Press Agency.
The TVP Info documentary series “Reset,” which explored Poland’s relations with Russia between 2007 and 2015 and the actions of former Polish governments during this time period, was also removed from TVP’s archive.
Poland’s former ruling party, the Law and Justice (PiS) party, responded to the takeover of TVP Info by staging a sit-in protest at the state broadcaster’s headquarters.
The new Polish government claimed that its moves against these broadcasters are part of an attempt to “depoliticise” them and accused the broadcasters of “carrying out propaganda tasks” in favor of the former government.
However, members of Poland’s previous ruling party argued that the conservative slant of public media was needed to provide an alternative to Poland’s mostly liberal private media.
Poland’s former prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, accused the new government of violating its “supposed care for the rule of law… at every step.”
Jarosław Kaczyński, the former deputy prime minister of Poland and the leader of the Law and Justice Party, said: “There is no democracy without media pluralism, without strong anti-government media.”
Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, also criticized the new government’s actions against these state broadcasters by stressing that “a political objective cannot be an excuse for violating or circumventing constitutional and statutory regulations.”
Even critics of the Law and Justice (PiS) party have admitted that the new government’s moves against these state broadcasters are problematic.
While the Tusk-led government is exercising control over TVP Info, the broadcaster is fighting back via its social media channels. It has been providing regular updates on the pushback against the government takeover of these media outlets on X. Additionally, TVP Info has uploaded the Reset documentary series to its YouTube channel.
TVP World, an English-language news channel owned by TVP Info, condemned the Polish government’s actions on X.
“Recent events conducted by the newly elected Polish government to illegally take control of TVP have left us speechless,” TVP World wrote. “Our channel and its website have been shut down with no reason provided, and our work is on hold.”
According to TVP World, the Association of Polish Journalists (SDP) has also strongly criticized the government’s actions, describing them as “a barbaric attack on freedom of speech and journalistic independence.”
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