Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Donald the Media Wrecker

Włodzimierz Czarzasty, Szymon Hołownia, Donald Tusk, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz – Common declaration of opposition leaders. By Klub Lewicy

A thief doesn’t so much steal as he does damage, the old rule goes, and the Tusk team’s intrusion into Poland’s public media has confirmed this rule.


Rafał A. Ziemkiewicz

Leaving aside the extreme lawlessness, what is most shocking is the ineptitude. After all, Donald Tusk’s team had been preparing for many months to take over the public media one way or another.

However, after public television and radio employees were forcibly sacked, it turned out that Tusk’s people had no one to replace them.

As the website reported, it was only in the last days before the public media takeover that politicians from Tusk’s entourage (not any “new authorities” of the supposedly “public” media, but politicians close to Tusk, according to a news website that is anything but favorable to the ousted Law and Justice party!) desperately called around journalists who sympathize with Tusk’s Civic Platform, offering positions in the public media that were soon to be taken over.

It’s worth adding that, according to the same website, which belongs to the Swiss-German Ringier Axel Springer Media company, they were lured by “rates significantly above market rates,” which is a beautiful counterpoint to the governing camp’s propaganda about the “huge salaries of former PiS appointees” in the public media.

The new government’s media takeover resulted in public television (TVP) not broadcasting for several days and a very sharp drop in viewership after it came back on air. They even managed to botch the New Year’s Eve concert on TVP2, which for the first time in years lost its position as the most popular TV show. And it is better not to mention the talk shows, news, and VOD services…

Some people are surprised by this situation. At the Do Rzeczy weekly, we are not. In November 2012, the [conservative] weekly newspaper we had created, Uważam Rze, with monthly sales of about 130,000 copies, was the most popular Polish weekly opinion and news weekly newspaper, leaving the [most popular left-liberal] weeklies Polityka and Newsweek far behind, and we had the best advertising target for advertisers.

For Presspublika, the owner of the Uważam Rze weekly and the Rzeczpospolita daily, we were the goose laying the golden eggs.

But the Tusk government of the time harassed the British [i.e. the Mecom Group media company] out of Presspublika and gave their shares on credit to [Civic Platform-friendly printing press owner] Grzegorz Hajdarowicz. The latter appointed a certain Piński as chief of our weekly, who reduced sales to 14,000 copies in just a few months. And then, to the joy of the competition, the best Polish weekly disappeared.

That’s what it was all about then: to destroy it. And that’s also what it’s all about today with public television.

Law and Justice censors and propagandists as defenders of “freedom of speech”


This opinion piece was first published in Polish in the Do Rzeczy weekly in January 2024.