A battle is currently underway for the future of Poland’s politicized public media. Since the election of the new coalition government led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk in October 2023, the public television TVP has faced drastic reforms.

The new Minister of Culture moved quickly to enact changes at TVP, Polish Radio and the state news agency, which had to different levels been converted into media arms of the former ruling party, Law and Justice.

After promising swift action during the campaign, the new pro-EU government temporarily took a news channel off the air, abruptly dismissed the supervisory bodies of TVP and the news agency, and more recently put the public media into liquidation.

While the Tusk administration has defended these moves as necessary to restore impartiality and dismantle the unethical and biased output of TVP, the former ruling party has criticized the changes as undemocratic and aimed at cementing a new form of political control.

While it’s clear that major reforms were urgently needed to Poland’s public media, there are questions about whether the means used to do so are democratic, legal and truly aimed at increasing pluralistic coverage, rather than simply perpetuating the cycle of politicization after elections that has characterized public media for decades.

Guests: Daniel Tilles, Editor-in-Chief at Notes From Poland

Producer and Host: Jamie Wiseman, Europe Advocacy Officer at International Press Institute (IPI)

Editor: Javier Luque, Head of Digital Communications at IPI

Other episodes in this series:

Navigating Hungary’s Sovereignty Protection Act – Media Freedom In Focus

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This podcast series is part of the MFRR in Focus project sponsored by Media Freedom Rapid Response, which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. The MFRR is organised by a consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) including ARTICLE 19 Europe, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT).

For more in-depth podcast episodes about the state of press freedom in Europe, visit the MFRR website or search MFRR In Focus on your podcasts apps. The MFRR is co-funded by the European Commission.