Public media to be liquidated?

Warsaw Business Journal,
23 September 2008, Poland

Civic Platform is preparing legislation to dismantle Poland’s public media. The Polish government is currently working on a draft bill that would do away with state-owned television firm TVP and Polish Radio, along with their regional divisions, establishing new companies in their place. The draft has already been accepted by Minister of Culture and National Heritage Bogdan Zdrojewski, who is a member of the ruling Civic Platform (PO) party.

In a recent interview for Gazeta Wyborcza, Tadeusz Kowalski, the head of the team preparing the bill, blamed red tape in TVP as the reason for the institution’s "ineffectiveness." He shared some details from the draft, explaining that it would force both public media companies to reduce their staff numbers and dismiss their current presidents, who were appointed during the Law and Justice’s (PiS) government tenure.

The new media entities would be financed by a newly created Public Tasks Fund (Fundusz Zadań Publicznych), which in turn would be funded by taxes paid by media companies and not through public subscription fees.

"From an economic point of view, moving from a public subscription that few [people] pay to financing by taxes is a wise idea," a source at Polish Radio told WBJ.
"And of course from a political angle it is a way of getting rid of the management appointed by PiS. But I don’t think PO will ever get the necessary majority in the Sejm and President Kaczyński would throw the bill into the bin anyway," the source added.

The draft bill is expected to be ready by the end of the year, and then would seek approval in the Sejm and Senate. An alternative version of amendments to the media law is being pushed by the Left (Lewica), which is conducting negotiations with the Polish Peasants’ Party (PSL) about cooperation on the project.

Marcin Poznań,45_,wid,10387014,prasa_45.html?ticaid=16aa4