Thursday, 2 July 2009

TVP-- The Public Media Debate


The future of TVP, Poland's state television broadcaster, has been the subject of a lot of debate over the last year or so. In the UK, a similar debate over the BBC has tended to be drawn on Left-Right lines, with those on the left wanting to protect the state broadcaster as a bastion of high-quality, public service programming, while those on the right advocate letting the BBC fend for itself in the market.
The debate in Poland is often couched in similar terms but an extra twist is added by the fact that TVP has become the home of some rather extreme right-wing characters. Vice-president Piotr Farfal is a member of the far-right LPR party and is a former skinhead. A couple of months ago I caught an edition of the current affairs discussion programme 'Warto Rozmawiac' ('worth talking about') and they had a some crackpot from the States claiming that employing homosexual teachers puts children at risk. Funnily enough, the paedophile scandal in the Irish church did not make any headlines....

Here we have a For and Against piece from 'Przeglad' magazine on the future of public TV:


Q: Does Citizen's Platform (PO-ruling centre-right party) want to weaken public media?

YES-- Piotr Gadzinowski, politician from SLD (Alliance of the Democratic Left)

PO's every action is geared towards the weakening of public media and its privatisation. According to the leaders of PO they do not need to worry about it-- public service programming can be broadcast by commercial channels. This is what happens in New Zealand. Commercial channels are ordered to show a certain amount of educational and scientific programmes but they show them late at night. This is what PO's policy will lead to. Donald Tusk's (PM) declaration that all media should be able to earn their keep underlines the fact that he sees no difference bewteen public and commercial broadcasting.

NO-- Iwona Sledzinska-Katarasinska, MP from PO (Citizen's Platform)

No. PO wants to save public broadcasting, which is already in a dire state. Its funding is outdated and in the case of Polish Radio, which is in a very difficult situation, the money is being wasted on a lost cause. Television, on the other hand, does not live off public money-- it receives 300 million zloty from the licence fee but it spends 1.8 billion on advertising, sponsorship and other activities. Therefore, we need to start to control the expenditure of public money in TVP in order to find out exactly what is going on there.

Translated (roughly) by Czarny Kot 02/07/09 Source: Przeglad