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The Culture and Media Committee on the proceedings regarding the reportage “The power of lies”. Opposition: the head of the National Broadcasting Council wants to restrict freedom of speech

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At the request of the opposition, a meeting of the parliamentary culture and media committee was held on Tuesday. The deputies wanted explanations from the head of the National Broadcasting Council, who initiated ex officio proceedings to punish TVN for broadcasting Piotr Świerczek’s report “The power of lies”. KO MP Piotr Adamowicz assessed that the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council wants to “restrict freedom of speech” and “combat press criticism” with his actions. – Instead of being on the side of freedom of the media and journalists, you are on the side of the politician of the ruling option – said Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, a member of the Left, directing her words to Świrski.

Chairman KRRiT On December 29, 2022, he instituted ex officio proceedings to punish TVN in connection with the broadcast of Piotr Świerczek’s report “The Power of Lies”. On January 5, 2023, the station applied for discontinuation of the proceedings “as groundless – pursuant to Art. 105 §1 of the Code of Administrative Procedure – because the broadcast fully complies with the law”. On January 19, TVN also sent a detailed response to the KRRiT to the allegations of Antoni Macierewicz. We published a response on the tvn24.pl portal, including the NIAR document, which has not been published by the subcommittee to this day.

LOOK: TVN’s detailed response to Antoni Macierewicz’s allegations regarding the material “The power of lies”

On Tuesday, a meeting of the culture and media committee was held, which was convened at the request of opposition deputies.

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Adamowicz: the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council wants to restrict freedom of speech

One of the committee members, Piotr Adamowicz (KO), who submitted a request to convene a meeting, assessed that the actions of the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council are unjustified. He argued that a polemic with the theses presented by the TVN station should take place only under the press law in civil or criminal proceedings. – It is the court that decides whether a journalist has exercised due diligence or not – Press Law. MP Macierewicz did not use any of these paths – said Adamowicz. “He chose to complain to a body led by his political colleague,” he added.

The KO MP also referred to the objectives of the National Broadcasting Council set out in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. He assessed that the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council “with his administrative actions, wants to limit the freedom of speech, the right to information, to act in the name of the public interest, and to combat press criticism”. He also suggested that the actions of the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council are related to the process of extending the broadcasting licenses of two stations belonging to TVN. In his opinion, the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council seeks to extend the licensing process or to reject this application.

Excerpt from the meeting of the culture and media committeeTVN24

Referring to the allegations, the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council, Maciej Świrski, presented the course of the procedure initiated on December 29 last year. He said that the proceedings were initiated at the request of the chairman of the Subcommittee to investigate the Smolensk catastrophe, Antoni Macierewicz, who considered that the report presented on TVN “was prepared in an unreliable or even false way”. The chairman of the National Broadcasting Council said: “in view of the matter-of-factness and extensiveness of this argumentation, I came to the conclusion that the complaint may be at least partly justified, but any further proceedings require taking actions that go beyond the framework of the complaint procedure”.

He added that in this situation, he decided to initiate proceedings under the provisions of the Code of Administrative Procedure, the lead body of which is the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council. – Since then, I have taken the necessary steps to clarify the matter comprehensively. The purpose of the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council is to check whether the material contains content that violates Art. 18 sec. 1 and 3 of the Broadcasting Act, “by promoting untrue information and actions contrary to the Polish raison d’état and threatening public safety” – he said. Świrski added that part of his activities is to ask specialists who can issue opinions on the arguments presented in the material.

Świrski reminded that the imposition of penalties in such proceedings is the exclusive competence of the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council, but the initiation of proceedings does not mean that a financial penalty will be imposed on TVN broadcaster.

Śledzińska-Katarasińska to the head of the National Broadcasting Council: why did you immediately fire the biggest cannon?

Member of the KO Iwona Śledzińska-Katarasińska z AFTER during Tuesday’s meeting, she argued that the actions of the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council are unjustified and may lead to the withdrawal of TVN’s broadcasting license under the guise of protecting the Polish raison d’état.

– Why, on what basis did it even occur to you to initiate proceedings invoking Article 18 of the Broadcasting Act. Article 18 is not just an ordinary article that talks about fines, but Article 18 says that breaking this article may result in the withdrawal of the concession, which you know very well – said the MP.

– On what basis and why did you immediately fire the largest cannon at journalistic material, legal, from a legal broadcaster, in a legal program, announced, with authorship, with some topic, and you suddenly decided that the Polish raison d’état was violated there? Are Antoni Macierewicz and his subcommittee a Polish raison d’état for you? Because I do not understand what is the Polish raison d’état for you, she added.

The KO MP said that it was a real violation of the “Polish raison d’état” to refer to the European People’s Party (EPP) as “Putin’s European Party” on government television. She also suggested that the request of some members of the TVP Program Council representing opposition parties had not been answered by the National Broadcasting Council. The Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council explained that the answer to this request had been given.

Śledzińska-Katarasińska to the head of the National Broadcasting Council: why did you immediately fire the biggest cannon?

Śledzińska-Katarasińska to the head of the National Broadcasting Council: why did you immediately fire the biggest cannon?TVN24

Member of the KO Małgorzata Kidawa-Blonska read out a statement by the president of the Grand Press foundation of Weronika Mirowska. “I call on Polish free media and international journalistic organizations to jointly defend the independence of journalists, and I demand that KRRIT immediately stop repressing the editorial staff of TVN and TVN24,” the president of the foundation appealed in a letter.

– I would also like to add that, as an opposition MP, I have repeatedly filed complaints with the National Broadcasting Council and I have always heard that I should take these cases to court – she said.

Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus to the head of the National Broadcasting Council: you should guard free media

– Instead of being on the side of the freedom of the media and journalists, you are on the side of the politician of the ruling option – said Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, a member of the Left, addressing her words to the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council.

– Mr. Antoni Macierewicz himself said clearly during the presentation of his famous report, he appealed to journalists to check all the documents that Macierewicz presents there (…) Journalists responded to this, including Mr. Świerczek from TVN24, who made this report – she said.

– On what order are you working? Antoni Macierewicz, Jarosław Kaczyński, Law and Justice? she asked. “Because you’re doing things you shouldn’t be doing at all.” It is you who should guard the defense of the work of journalists, free media today, you should be the defender of freedom of speech, because the task of journalists is to check politicians, control politicians, analyze all materials and show lies, propaganda and all other manipulations, and sometimes show good things she added. “You just got your roles mixed up,” she said.

Scheuring-Wielgus to the head of the National Broadcasting Council: instead of being on the side of freedom of the media and journalists, you are on the side of the politician of the ruling option

Scheuring-Wielgus to the head of the National Broadcasting Council: instead of being on the side of freedom of the media and journalists, you are on the side of the politician of the ruling optionTVN24

Responding to the accusations of opposition deputies, chairman Maciej Świrski asked the question “is freedom of speech in Poland the freedom to tell lies?”. – This question concerns the media space in Poland. This is the main axiological question – he added. In the summary of the discussion, KRRiT member dr hab. Hanna Karp said that the president and the council cannot succumb to pressure and pressure from the media. She added that “the constitutional body must uphold Article 213 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland” and “enforce the law in force”.

Meeting of the culture and media committeeTVN24

Statement of “Fakty” TVN and TVN24 from January 2

On TVN24, in the material “The power of lies”, we questioned the reliability of the work of the so-called Macierewicz subcommittee. We have disclosed the hidden facts from the American NIAR report and the accounts of people who participated in the work of the Smolensk subcommittee. At the request of Antoni Macierewicz, the National Broadcasting Council, instead of guarding the freedom of speech, wants to punish us for it. The purpose of such a penalty is only to try to limit journalistic criticism related to the activities of the subcommittee. This is unacceptable in the light of the constitutional tasks of the press, which is obliged to control public institutions. On TVN we will publish facts regardless of who they are inconvenient for. Our viewers have the right to know what the authorities do not want to disclose. That’s what freedom of speech is about. “The power of lies” is a material awarded with many awards, its author is the winner of, among others, Grand Press. This reportage is available on tvn24.pl.

Report “The Power of Lies”, premiered on September 12, 2022 on TVN24, is the result of many months of work by TVN24 journalist Piotr Świerczek. The author has accessed recordings, photos and international expert opinions concerning catastrophe in Smolensk in 2010, which – although they were commissioned by the so-called Antoni Macierewicz’s Smolensk Subcommittee – were never included in its reports, including the last one, which was supposed to be the final report. These materials either explicitly exclude an attack or point to a catastrophe as the cause of the tragedy. Świerczek also talked to people who worked for the subcommittee, but do not agree with its conclusions that there was an attack in Smolensk. What’s more, the journalist’s interlocutors directly say that their research has been manipulated or selectively used for theses assumed in advance by the subcommittee.

As a sign of solidarity with our editorial office, several dozen of the largest nationwide and local media decided to publish “The power of lies” on their websites.

List of newsrooms providing unprecedented support. “The power of lies” on dozens of websites

Main photo source: TVN24



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