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Maciej Świrski – activities of the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council. Krzysztof Luft and Roman Imielski comment

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Maciej Świrski should never have become the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council. It is a scandal that such a person is even in such a position – said Roman Imielski, first deputy editor-in-chief of “Gazeta Wyborcza”, in “Fakty po Faktach”. Krzysztof Luft, a former member of the National Broadcasting Council, said that it was sad to see the National Broadcasting Council “falling into the abyss of some third-rate causation.”

The District Court in Warsaw annulled the PLN 80,000 fine that Maciej Świrski, chairman of the National Broadcasting Council, tried to impose on “Fakty” TVN individually and without justification. The fine concerned the mistaken interruption of the publication of TVN's “Fakty” at the end of June 2023.

Świrski didn't like it either reportage “Franciszkańska 3” by Marcin Gutowski, one of the parts of the “Ensothorax” series on TVN24. In March 2024, it imposed a fine of over half a million zlotys on the station. And despite an appeal against his decision, he decided to collect the money from the Tax Office, which he boasted about publicly. Without waiting for the court's decision.

– Until the decision is final, the penalty cannot be enforced – noted Agnieszka Wiercińska-Krużewska, attorney at WBK Lawyers. – This execution is illegal and outside the law – she added.

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In the past, Świrski also punished, among others, TOK FM and Radio Zet.

READ MORE: The court annulled the penalty that the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council tried to impose on “Fakty”. How does Maciej Świrski deal with free media?

The guests of “Fakty po Faktach” – member of the TVP Program Council and former member of KRRiT Krzysztof Luft and the first deputy editor-in-chief of “Gazeta Wyborcza” Roman Imielski – commented on the activities of the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council.

“He should never have become the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council”

– I look at it with great sadness, because I was a member of the National Broadcasting Council. I consider it a very important body that once boasted, for example, very high legal competences. And today I see with sadness that it is sinking into the abyss of some third-rate causation, said Luft.

– What Mr. Świrski is doing right now, both in terms of penalties, extending licenses, dealing with complaints from broadcasters, and various other activities, all these are things that are so far from the normal legal perspective that it really is there are no words, he added.

Luft: I am sorry to see that the National Broadcasting Council is descending into the abyss of some third-rate causationTVN24

According to Roman Imielski, Maciej Świrski “should never become the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council.” – It is a scandal that such a person is even in such a position. This is a party agent and it was clear that he was sent there for a specific purpose. Destroy free media, he emphasized.

– We saw how he harassed TVN, how he harassed Radio TOK FM and other independent broadcasters, breaking the media law, because he never reacted to what was happening on public television during the PiS era, where propaganda and hate poured out from virtually every program. He was sent to head the National Broadcasting Council to defend party interests, Imielski added.

Luft: The National Broadcasting Council has no competence to make any decisions regarding press law

Krzysztof Luft pointed out that a “very important thread” is that Świrski “makes these decisions alone, without the participation of the rest of the Council.” – He believes he has the right to exercise his position and punish broadcasters under various laws. And in your case, Franciszkańska, but also in a few others, he refers to the press law. The National Broadcasting Council has no competence to make any decisions regarding press law, he emphasized.

As he added, “both criminal and civil courts can decide on violations of press law.”

Luft: The National Broadcasting Council has no competence to make any decisions regarding press law

Luft: The National Broadcasting Council has no competence to make any decisions regarding press lawTVN24

As Imielski assessed, “Mr. Świrski's action is a classic action that involves suppressing press criticism.” – This is prohibited by press law in general. He wants to have a chilling effect. We attack the big ones, but we can do even worse to any small one, because the big editorial offices are not behind them, he said.

According to the TVN24 guest, “if PiS won its third term, the plan was to destroy free media with the help of Maciej Świrski, still the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council.” – He has a huge pressure apparatus. Especially for media that are subject to various licenses, such as TVN, Radio TOK FM and Radio Zet – he added.

Imielski: Świrski wants to have a chilling effect

Imielski: Świrski wants to have a chilling effect TVN24

Penalty of the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council for “Franciszkańska 3”. Editorial statement

On March 6, after the decision of the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council to impose a fine for the reportage “Franciszkańska 3”, showing abuses in the Church, the TVN24 editorial office issued a statement.

READ MORE: Penalty of the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council for “Franciszkańska 3”. Editorial statement

The decision of the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council to impose a penalty on the TVN24 editorial office for the report “Franciszkańska 3” has no basis, violates media freedom and is an attempt to introduce censorship. The mission of journalists is to inform and reveal facts – including those that show difficult truths. The report “Franciszkańska 3” is the result of many months of work, based on witness accounts and source materials, and, above all, it gives a voice to the victims of abuse in the Church. The financial penalty for TVN24 is another attempt to intimidate our and many other editorial offices. It poses a threat to viewers' right to information. We will always defend journalists so that they can inform you about what is important. Therefore, we will immediately appeal against this decision to the court.

The Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council, Maciej Świrski, accused TVN SA of violating Art. 18 section 1 and 2 of the Broadcasting Act by broadcasting the report “Franciszkańska 3” and therefore decided to impose a financial sanction in the amount of PLN 550,000. In the justification, he accused the editors of, among other things, lack of objectivity and “a narrative tailored to the thesis presented earlier.”

Main photo source: TVN24



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