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The degenerate rule of Jarosław Kaczyński’s Law and Justice party - its assault on the judiciary, Eurosceptic or outright anti-EU rhetoric, a level of nepotism unseen since 1989, and finally the de facto privatization of the state by staffing all possible institutions and state-owned companies with party loyalists - can only survive if independent and critical media disappear.
It’s not a coincidence that a few days ago Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki publicly stated that PiS can count on the support of only a few TV stations and newspapers, while their opponents have an entire powerful media front to back them up. He also made sure to mention big digital platform companies.
Thus, he set a clear goal – today, we will shut down the biggest independent TV station that is lightyears ahead of the government-controlled public broadcaster, and tomorrow we will take Onet. Last but not least, we will come for "Wyborcza" and RMF FM.
The Prime Minister, a notorious liar, revealed his cards completely: the new media bill is not about regulating the market and protecting the Polish media from a hostile takeover by the Russians or the Chinese. It is about silencing journalists and government critics, or turning the media into a party propaganda mouthpiece in the likes of Jacek Kurski’s TVP, so that the unsuspecting public will believe everything Kaczyński and his flunkies tell them.
Freedom of speech and independent media is the lifeblood of democracy. It is the very foundation of a conscious civil society. The role of free media is not to please the government or politicians. Their role is to serve ordinary people, often defending them from abuses of power.
Blatantly violating the constitution and the media law, in 2016, PiS took over public media and turned it into a party propaganda tool. This was frankly admitted in 2018 at a local community meeting in Koziegłowy by the former PiS MP and current Constitutional Tribunal judge Stanisław Piotrowicz: - I realize that some people may think that the message offends their intelligence, this is at least the impression I get, but you must know that in order to reach everyone, the widest possible number of Polish citizens, the message must use the lowest common denominator.
This is why after the 2020 Polish presidential election, in its assessment, the OSCE mission stated that: "in an evidently polarized and biased media landscape, the public broadcaster failed to ensure balanced and impartial coverage, and rather served as a campaign tool for the incumbent".
The "anti-TVN bill" is just the next step to make sure that the ruling camp keeps winning elections. And the scandalous repeat voting on the adjournment of Wednesday’s parliamentary session, which PiS lost, confirms that a real coup d'etat is taking place right before our eyes.
And the man personally responsible for all this is Jarosław Kaczyński- the leader of a political junta.
Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about Polish politics and society, keeping a critical eye on the ruling camp’s persistent assault on democratic values and the rule of law; the growing cultural tension between religious fundamentalism and human rights; and the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Our journalists are on the front lines in 25 Polish cities, reporting from the streets, hospitals, and courtrooms about issues that move public opinion.
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