TV ARTE breaks off with TVP

By Katarzyna Grynienko
    The German-French cultural channel ARTE broke of co-operation with Polish public broadcaster TVP, citing the political leanings of TVP's new chairman.
    Witold Kołodziejski, chairman of the National Broadcasting Council (www.krrit.gov.pl), received a letter from TV Arte (www.arte.tv) saying the station's authorities do not approve of Piotr Farfał as acting chairman of TVP (www.tvp.pl) because of his connections to Młodziez Wszechpolska (the omni-Polish youth), an ultra conservative political group often accused of fascist and anti-Semitic views, and the conservative party Liga Polskich Rodzin (Polish Families League). Kołodziejski allowed a fragment of the letter to be published in a Polish newspaper, with the quote that "the party that TVP's Chairman is presently connected with does not share European values." TV Arte stated it would resume co-operation with TVP once a new chairman has been chosen.

    TVP's Supervising Council rejected the idea of dismissing Farfał, instead prolonging his tenure as temporary head of the station, which enforces his position as a candidate for the post permanently. A call to dismiss him of was placed by previous TVP chairman Artur Urbański and former vice-chairmen Sławomir Siwek and Marcin Bochenek. All three have been suspended for the next three months.

    In a statement. Farfał said he finds the situation "unacceptable" and he is surprised by TV Arte's complaints, as ARTE expressed no concern while he was a member of the TVP Board voting on co-productions with ARTE. He added that these accusations do not meet the standards of European culture, as it is impossible for him to present the views of any political party while he is acting as the head of public television.