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Adam Pieczyński is a former editor-in-chief of TVN24 news channel and the head of news section at TVN (2001-2019)
Business executives are necessary. That applies to media outlets too - as long as they understand their role.
Executives are basically indispensable. You have to know how to make money, how to control costs, how to introduce innovations, how to fire people, how to hire the right ones. It is a very demanding job. A crushing one, even. The excellent remuneration is not able to fully compensate for the toll it takes.
It is such a needed vocation. Under one condition, however. That those who were appointed to serve in executive positions do not forget their most important responsibility. That they are there to serve the shareholders, of course, but also - when they work in the media sector - to serve the public opinion and the editorial team working at the outlet they were entrusted to manage. It is a well-worn cliché that running a media outlet is not akin to running a nuts and bolts factory, despite what some may think. This simple truth now bears repeating within the context of the actions taken by the board of directors of Agora S.A.
Regardless of how the future scenarios will unfold, the responsibility for the fate of Gazeta Wyborcza rests on the members of the board of directors and their shoulders alone. It is the board whose role is to skillfully solve problems, not to multiply them, it is its responsibility to take care of the company’s most valuable employees, it is its duty to maintain the confidentiality and trust.
Members of the board of directors, at the end of the day, have to simply remember what kind of company they work for - its mission statement, its primary objective. Particularly at a time when democratic foundations are crumbling beneath our feet, the Covid-19 pandemic is killing hundreds of Poles every single day, and we have authoritarian tyrants intent on causing chaos on our Eastern border.
The primary objective of Gazeta Wyborcza is to serve as an institution that informs the public opinion, shapes the Polish civic debate and constitutes a meeting point for ideas on how to increase the wellbeing of our society and address the most pressing challenges it faces. Wyborcza’s role is to forge a space where democracy is not only talked about, but also practiced.
Having read the exchange between the founders and editors of Gazeta Wyborcza and the current board of directors of Agora I can say one thing with full confidence: it is very difficult to imagine Poland without a newspaper run by Adam Michnik and his team; it is exceedingly easy, however, to imagine "Gazeta Wyborcza" without the current board of directors.
If "Wyborcza"’s editors and journalists can count the support of their readers and subscribers, I believe that such a scenario is still possible. That a victory of mind over matter, of decency over lack thereof, can still be attained.
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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