Polish broadcaster TVP defends journalist accused of bias: statement

Poland’s public television broadcaster TVP has issued a statement to defend a journalist accused of bias by the opposition.
Photo: IAR/Krystian DobuszyńskiPhoto: IAR/Krystian Dobuszyński

The statement comes after politicians from three opposition parties on Monday demanded that the journalist be fired from his job as host of a current-affairs programme on the TVP Info news channel, according to the managers of the broadcaster’s TAI news agency.

Here is the full statement by the bosses of the TAI news agency:

Statement by the Management Board of the Television News Agency [TAI]

Politicians from the Civic Platform [PO], Nowoczesna and the Polish People’s Party [PSL] have made an unprecedented demand that journalist Michał Rachoń be removed from the editorial team of the Woronicza 17 current-affairs programme. This is the first such brutal, open attempt at political interference in the work of journalists in Poland.

Opposition politicians have repeatedly threatened TVP journalists with dismissals after a possible takeover of power in Poland. TVP reporters have also been repeatedly attacked, including physically, by supporters of opposition parties. We have been vulgarly insulted. But this is the first time that representatives of the three parties, in the Polish parliament building, have come forward with a direct demand that a specific journalist be fired because they do not like the questions he asks them.

A press conference given yesterday [on Monday, May 14] by politicians from the Civic Platform, Nowoczesna and the Polish People’s Party, parties whose politicians in the last elections lost their mandate to exercise power, proves that freedom of speech is not necessarily dear to all political forces in Poland. Anyone who holds dear the values of a democratic state based on the rule of law cannot accept a situation in which politicians want a journalist removed from his job for asking questions that representatives of the three aforementioned parties refused to answer in the television studio during the Woronicza 17 programme. The matter is especially shocking as the questions asked by Michał Rachoń in his role as a journalist referred to true and credibly obtained information. Fortunately, the days when representatives of the PO and PSL chose the topics and hosts of current-affairs programmes on Polish public television to suit their party interests, are a thing of the past.

Opposition politicians often refer to freedom of speech and standards of journalistic ethics, but in this case they want to gag journalists themselves. The Management Board of the Television News Agency does not consent to such practices.

Woronicza 17, much as other programmes hosted by Michał Rachoń, is evaluated by viewers every week. The popularity of this programme, compared with what rival stations offer, proves that Michał Rachoń is popular and enjoys the trust of viewers. This is the best evaluation of his professional standards for us.

I wish to emphasise that public television is open to representatives of groups all across the political spectrum. Current-affairs programmes on TVP’s channels have always provided ample room for those wishing to voice views compliant with the Polish constitution and the law. Such will continue to be the case.

Jarosław Olechowski, acting Director of the Television News Agency

(gs)

Source: centruminformacji.tvp.pl

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