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Polish MPs defeat bid to abolish state TV news channel

10.03.2023 00:30
Polish lawmakers have voted down a citizens' bill seeking to abolish state news channel TVP Info and scrap the television and radio licence fee.
Prominent opposition politician Rafał Trzaskowski speaks in Polands lower house on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
Prominent opposition politician Rafał Trzaskowski speaks in Poland's lower house on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.Photo: PAP/Andrzej Lange

A total of 234 MPs in Poland's 460-seat lower house on Thursday voted to defeat the billwhich had been signed by 103,583 citizens, state news agency PAP reported.

Meanwhile, 215 deputies, most of them from the opposition, supported the measure, and one abstained.

Leading opposition politician Rafał Trzaskowski told parliament on Wednesday that "TVP Info’s programmes inflict harm on the public.”

He urged MPs to support the bid to abolish the state-run news channel, which he said “should not exist in its present shape.”

Trzaskowski, who is mayor of Warsaw and a former presidential candidate, referred to what he called “instances of outrageous conduct” by TVP Info journalists and claimed that TVP Info is “completely controlled” by the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party.

Meanwhile, Deputy Culture Minister Szymon Giżyński told MPs that the bill, backed by Trzaskowski's centrist Civic Platform (PO) party and other opposition groups, offered no alternative to the existing model in which public media outlets are funded from the licence fee.

Giżyński warned on Wednesday that abolishing the TV and radio licence fee would force state channels “to stop broadcasting sports events and airing film productions,” while public radio stations, especially regional ones, “wouldn’t be able to function at all.” 

Ruling party MP Marek Suski told the house before the vote that public TV and radio broadcasters “are the only media outlets in Poland that speak the truth."

He described the initiative as “an attack on freedom of speech and on the right of citizens to have access to information,” public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.


Source: IAR, PAP, dorzeczy.pl