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Poland: News channel stops broadcasting as govt sacks public media chiefs

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Poland: News channel stops broadcasting as govt sacks public media chiefs

State-run media have long been charged with propagandising, reporting with bias, and verbally abusing the opposition. Leading the new ruling coalition was Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who had promised during the campaign to reset public television

Ajeyo Basu December 20, 2023 19:49:22 IST Poland: News channel stops broadcasting as govt sacks public media chiefs

Poland's culture ministry announced on Wednesday that the chairs and boards of the state radio, television, and news agencies had been replaced, citing the need to restore their impartiality Image Courtesy Agencies

The right-wing populist Law and Justice party (PiS) ruled Poland for eight years, and during that time, official media outlets were largely viewed as government mouthpieces. Now, the country’s new administration has declared it is firing executives from those channels.

Poland’s culture ministry announced on Wednesday that the chairs and boards of the state radio, television, and news agencies had been replaced, citing the need to restore their impartiality.

State-run media have long been charged with propagandising, reporting with bias, and verbally abusing the opposition. Leading the new ruling coalition was Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who had promised during the campaign to reset public television. It passed a resolution on Tuesday demanding that the “impartiality and reliability of the public media” be restored.

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Lawmakers from the PiS staged a sit-in at state television headquarters in response to the vote.

“Media pluralism and strong anti-government media are essential components of democracy, and in Poland they are the public media,” PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński said to reporters on Tuesday night outside the state television headquarters.

Kaczyński was one of the protestors, as was Mateusz Morawiecki, the former prime minister, who was spotted on social media taking selfies with radio staff.

PiS politicians, said to Kaczyński, would continue the demonstration in shifts.

The opposition and non-profits regularly attacked the PiS government for attempting to suppress the independent media and restrict freedom of speech.

“Political discourse and hate speech are still the rule within [Poland’s] state-owned media, which have been transformed into government propaganda mouthpieces,” according to a 2020 report by the international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

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