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Government pressure on free media. Jarosław Kurski and Edwin Bendyk comment

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We must be in solidarity. I am very pleased that more than 40 editors-in-chief have signed this declaration of solidarity. We have to stick together – said Jarosław Kurski, the first deputy editor-in-chief of “Gazeta Wyborcza”, on TVN24. Edwin Bendyk, president of the Stefan Batory Foundation, added that it is appalling to imagine it as something normal that “a political officer comes who tells the editorial office what to do and does not even communicate with the editor-in-chief”.

In recent days, they have been published in Onet and Wirtualna Polska texts revealing attempts to put pressure on editorial freedom by people in power.

“After numerous cases from the recent past – lex TVN, proceedings of the National Broadcasting Council, lawsuits sent en masse to Polish editorial offices – these are further attempts to limit the independence of Polish media” – wrote the editors-in-chief of several dozen free media in Poland in a joint declaration. “We will defend the independence of Polish journalism, and the editorial offices managed by us will jointly and consistently inform the public about any attempt by the authorities to influence the media,” they announced.

READ THE FULL CONTENTS OF THE DECLARATION HERE >>>

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Kurski: Freedom of speech is not something that is negotiable

– We must be united. I am very pleased that more than 40 editors-in-chief have signed this declaration of solidarity. We have to stick together – said Jarosław Kurski, the first deputy editor-in-chief of “Gazeta Wyborcza”, on TVN24. “Freedom of speech is not something that is negotiable,” he said.

“I have the impression that the political elites are not aware of the horror of the situation,” Kurski added. In his opinion, “another term of office of the Confederation and PiSa fascist state, will no longer create space for free media in Poland.” “The system will close, we will have a Turkish or Hungarian system,” he warned.

– What is the guarantee of media independence today? Because there are no more system guarantees, there is no de facto constitution. There is only foreign capital, Kurski said. – After all, TVN won only because the Americans stood up for you. The only question is whether this is a sufficient guarantee if PiS holds a third term of office – the journalist asked.

As he added, “if PiS takes power for the third time, it will take away the pilots or change their configuration.” – A system will be created in which the ruling party will not be able to lose the next elections – Kurski argued.

“We need to build a narrative of hope”

According to Edwin Bendyk, the key to removing PiS from power at the moment is “convincing those who are fed up with the current ruling system and are not convinced that the opposition’s victory will change the situation in the country” to vote.

He pointed out that “more than half of Poles would like change”, but only slightly more than 30 percent believe that it will be ensured by the victory of the opposition.

– There is a huge potential to mobilize the electorate here. We need to build a narrative of hope that shows that these elections can be won, he said.

Kurski on Kaczyński’s words: a complete detachment from reality

The guests of “Fakty po Faktach” also commented by Jaroslaw Kaczyńskiwho, when asked to comment on the declaration of several dozen editors and editors-in-chief on the independence of the media, replied: – I think there are few democratic countries in the world where the influence of the authorities on the media is so minimal, in fact – none, as in Poland. Especially the opposition media, and the opposition media are in the vast majority. According to the PiS president, “this is a pre-election ploy related to the close connection of these media with the political opposition.” – We look at it calmly, this is how it looks like in Poland at the moment, but we do not intend to react to it – he said.

Kaczyński on the declaration of female editors and editors-in-chief on the independence of the media: this is a pre-election ployTVN24

– There is no external similarity, but when it comes to rhetoric, I have an obvious analogy to Władysław Gomułka. A complete detachment from reality – commented Jarosław Kurski.

Last week, the editor-in-chief of Wirtualna Polska, Paweł Kapusta, described that the ruling camp wanted to influence the portal in various ways. A few days earlier, Bartosz Węglarczyk, editor-in-chief of the Onet portal, wrote that a person associated with PiS suggested to him what relations between the editorial office and the authorities should be like. According to his account, this person mentioned the appointment of someone to the post of deputy editor-in-chief who would be responsible for ensuring that the editorial office “represented the point of view of the government”.

– I was most appalled by the fact that he treated it as something normal, that this is how the media works – said Bendyk. – In his imagination, it is normal that there is a political officer who tells the editorial office what to do and does not even communicate with the editor-in-chief – he said.



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