The new government is implementing a radical purge to restore the independence of public media

The new government is implementing a radical purge to restore the independence of public media

The page has been turned in Poland, after eight years of rule by the national populist party, PiS. The electoral victory achieved by the progressive camp on Tuesday, December 12, brought Donald Tusk to the position of Prime Minister. The new strongman has just taken over the national media, in the name of restoring democracy.

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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Brussels, December 13, 2023. (OLIVIER MATTHYS / MAXPPP)

All it takes is a decision by the National Assembly on Tuesday 19 December to dismiss all senior executives of television, radio and the national news agency within a few hours. Police forces were deployed in front of the buildings to prevent them from reaching their offices and allow the new teams to settle in.

On air, broadcasters barely have enough time to announce the news: “This is a historic moment in television history.”“, said this TVP journalist. And then the programs are interrupted. The focus is forced on the screen. On the continuous news channel, there is no longer a stage, no more guests, but an old TV series.

Restoring the rule of law

All of this seems closer to coup methods than the methods followed by the pro-European government. This is the challenge facing the new coalition led by Donald Tusk, who took office only ten days ago. How can we restore the rule of law in a country that has been slowly drifting toward authoritarian rule? How can we dismantle the propaganda apparatus that has corrupted the media?

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In Poland, the public service has become a simple conveyor belt for nationalist leaders, an outlet for biased information and violent attacks against the opposition. When the Law and Justice Party came to power in 2015, it carried out an even harsher purge, laying off dozens of journalists and changing the law.

– Restoring the neutrality of public media

The current Prime Minister uses this method, but above all he promises new legislative texts to restore the neutrality of the public media and protect their independence. It is clear that the former team in power is crying. One in three Poles only has the public network to access their information. We realize that the populists in PiS have no desire to lose touch with their voters.

So they stuck around. Some deputies even forced the television doors to occupy the building. They are trying to mobilize public opinion and some demonstrations have taken place here and there. But to hear them condemn media control is A.J “A terrible joke”says the journal Rzeczpospolita. In this broad political comedy, the PiS actors must first and foremost learn how to leave the stage.

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