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As part of the so-called opinion barometer, Kantar Poland conducts regular nationwide surveys to capture the mood of Polish citizens. In July, respondents were asked, among other things, to assess the state of the Polish economy, forecast changes in the material situation of the population, and assess the accessibility of jobs. They were also asked to evaluate the performance of the current government, including Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and President Andrzej Duda.
The results were devastating, especially for the President and the PM. Not only did Poles assess their work and performance poorly, but the majority also felt that the country's economy is in a state of deep crisis, and that things are going in an even worse direction. The agency recently conducted a survey which showed that Poles have had to cut expenses due to inflation.
For Jarosław Kaczyński, perhaps the most worrisome of all recent polls has been the one showing his party losing ground to the oppositional Civic Coalition- a trend unseen since 2015.
However, the information is nowhere to find on the website of the Polish Press Agency (PAP)- a state institution tasked precisely with gathering such information and making it available to the public.
Even considering that the choice of news on the agency’s website is highly selective, the results of surveys conducted by Kantar Public and other pollsters were regularly published. Going through the website, one can still learn that Polish citizens do not approve of Donald Tusk as the head of the Civic Platform, that PiS is leading in the polls, that support for the ruling coalition has risen again, and that Poles living abroad have a positive view of the current government.
Yet, the most recent Kantar survey- showing that one-third of all respondents perceive the Polish economy as being in a state of deep crisis, that over a half of Poles are worried that their material situation will worsen, and that a vast majority are critical of the government and the president- is missing.
Why? - The Polish Press Agency should have changed its name to "the state press agency" a long time ago- says Professor Dorota Piontek, a media expert at Adam Mickiewicz University. - The institution no longer performs its statutory informative function. It is a party propaganda outlet, just like other media taken over and directed by the Law and Justice party- she adds.
According to the media expert, in the case of PAP, one can talk about the "agenda-setting role of the agency" - It does not reflect objective reality - as much as media are capable of doing so- but instead creates it being very selectively about various data it chooses to publish. Data that are unfavorable from the point of view of the ruling coalition are either not published at all, or published in such a way that serves the propaganda goals.
The site Poufna Rozmowa (Confidential Conversation), which regularly published the content of e-mails leaked from the mailbox of the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Michał Dworczyk, released screenshots of e-mails allegedly sent by the president of the Polish Press Agency Wojciech Surmacz. The email exchange shows, among other things, how the government directly controls Poland’s largest news agency.
PAP's propaganda activities were also described by the trade monthly "Press". In the article entitled "Polska Agencja Pisowa", one of the agency’s long-time journalists (who was fired as soon as the Law and Justice party came to power) says that "the extent of censorship at the Polish Press Agency is unseen since the days of the Polish People’s Republic".
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