Poland’s Culture Minister orders liquidation of state media groups News
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Poland’s Culture Minister orders liquidation of state media groups

Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, issued an order on Wednesday for the liquidation of three prominent state media companies – television network Telewizja Polska (TVP), national radio broadcaster Polskie Radio and news agency Polska Agencja Prasowa (PAP).

According to Sienkiewicz, the aim of this move is to ensure the continued operation of these entities, facilitate necessary restructuring, and prevent potential layoffs resulting from a lack of financial resources. The decision comes as President Andrzej Duda and the newly elected government clash over media reforms and budget expenditures. Earlier in December, President Duda vetoed the 2024 budget bill, rejecting its allocation of 3 billion zloty in funding for media until reforms are implemented. The President cited constitutional violations and the need for comprehensive repairs and legal reforms within the public media sector as reasons for his veto.

Critics argue liquidating bodies providing essential public services like news coverage violates citizens’ right to information access guaranteed by the Constitution. Opposition lawmakers have slammed the move as a political rather than financial decision, aimed at removing media from the new government’s control. Mariusz Błaszczak, Chairman of the ruling Law and Justice Parliamentary Club, commented that Prime Minister Donald Tusk, through Sienkiewicz, is trying to take control of the media illegally by violating the constitution, laws and rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal. He claimed Tusk’s “strong people” pretending to be bodyguards wanted to use force to disrupt parliamentary interventions. Sławomir Dudek, President of the Institute of Public Finance NGO, also weighed in, criticizing Duda for “playing with the budget” in a way that violates the spirit of the constitution. Dudek argued the President’s actions have only prolonged the budget impasse and overridden normal procedures.