Independent TV broadcaster fined in Poland
Poland's media regulator has slapped a fine of just under 1.5 million zloty (around 350,000 euros) on Polish TV broadcaster TVN24. It accuses the leading independent news broadcaster of violating the rules of good reporting with its coverage of the protests that broke out in the Polish parliament over the media reform in December 2016. Last week commentators close to the PiS called for measures against anti-government media. Poland's independent media sound the alarm.
Censorship is back
Leszek Jażdżewski, editor-in-chief of the liberal magazine Liberté, writes in his blog with Polityka that the fine marks the end of media freedom:
“We are experiencing the return of political censorship in free Poland. It is not yet preventive censorship but that may be on the way. From now on a party functionary will decide what can be covered by the press. ... In theory, article 14 of the constitution ensures media freedom in Poland: 'The Republic of Poland guarantees freedom for the press and other media.' Or so the saying went.”
We must not let ourselves be gagged!
Jaroslaw Kurski, the deputy editor of Gazeta Wyborcza, calls on journalists to fight for press freedom:
“The government is ending its confrontation with the independent courts. So now it's time to take action against the media. ... In these times when the so-called national [state-run] and pro-government media are setting the journalistic standards, simple objectivity and normal thoroughness are becoming punishable offences in the eyes of those in power. ... The journalistic milieu is divided for obvious reasons. ... But one thing should be more important than all other dividing lines: the media freedom and freedom of expression guaranteed in the constitution. We must not allow ourselves to be gagged. If we do we will no longer deserve to be called journalists.”
Treacherous media must disappear
The Polish government should finally take action against opposition media, columnist Ryszard Makowski writes in wPolityce:
“It's thanks to the fake media that the total opposition can continue to exist in Poland. ... We can only hope that the government will turn its attention to the media as soon as it's done with reforming the judiciary and the electoral system. Of course the media must be pluralist, but it's simply unacceptable for them to shamelessly, blatantly stand up for foreign interests. We'll all breathe a sigh of relief when this conglomerate of treason disappears for good.”
A proposal to Kaczyński's liking
The appeal to the Polish government may be well received, Gazeta Wyborcza fears:
“The Ministry of Culture says that the draft legislation on the 're-Polandisation' and de-concentration of the private media is ready but that there has been no political decision (that is no order by party leader Jarosław Kaczyński) to present it in parliament. So Makowski is calling on Kaczyński to 'let the government deal with the media'. ... In other words Makowski, a fervent admirer of the PiS, is calling - in a media outlet with close ties to the PiS - on the government to put the independent media and opposition out of action. So effectively he's calling on the PiS to destroy this media outlet's rivals and its own rivals in a single blow. I admit, this logic could well appeal to Kaczyński.”