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Several million TV viewers in Poland are at risk of losing access to non-government information soon. A new technological standard concerning the broadcasting signal will affect all television broadcasters except for the state-owned TVP, which has been given time until the end of next year to adjust to the new requirements.

The Office of Electronic Communications granted TVP its request due to "the ongoing war in Ukraine," as if Russian aggression had no influence on other broadcasters.

Thus, before the 2023 elections, nearly 2 million households with old TV sets and antennas, if they do not replace or modernize them, will lose access to the news programs of TVN and Polsat ("Fakty" and "Wydarzenia") that account for 35 percent of the evening news broadcast market. Instead, they will be able to watch the state-owned broadcaster’s channels and their news broadcasts. 

This is not a coincidence, but rather a premeditated action on the side of the ruling camp. Taking its cues from Putin's Russia with its pushy, hateful and hypocritical propaganda, TVP is used by the government to ensure that the Law and Justice party will stay in power indefinitely. 

Given the extent of the public broadcaster's blatant disinformation, the 2023 parliamentary elections will not be equal. Many Polish citizens will not have access to verified information and balanced opinions, and will instead have to rely on the extremely one-sided narrative pushed by the ruling camp on the airwaves of the supposedly public, but in fact purely partisan, broadcaster.

We appeal to the Polish Ombudsman, who defends our right to information, to the European Commission that evaluates the state of the rule of law in Poland, and to the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), which includes the Polish Office for Electronic Communications, to oppose this further restriction of media freedom in Poland.

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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.

We decided to make our service available to everyone free of charge in order to provide access to high quality journalism for expats and English speakers interested in Polish affairs. 

The access to information should be equal for all.

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