Polish National Broadcasting Council wins battle to stay in place

By Katarzyna Grynienko

    Polish President Lech Kaczyński had accepted the National Broadcasting Council's annual report for 2008, preventing the termination of its current term of office.
    The action overturns the desicion of both the Polish Seym and Senate to dissolve the National Broadcasting Council (www.krrit.gov.pl) by not accepting its annual report. The President thus prolongs the term of the most infleuntial instituition in Polish public media. The termination of the Council was one of the main items of the new media bill project vetoed by the President on September 12, 2009.

    The Council's main responsibilties included defending the freedom of speech and the interest of the Polish media, issuing broadcasting licences, and distributing the funds from the radio and tv fees. The vetoed media bill included a restructalization of the Polish Public Television (www.tvp.pl) and a new institution responsible for the program content and funding.

    "The situtation of the Polish public media during the last few months, especially the Polish Public Television, has been raising general dissaproval and anxiety about the future of the biggest Polish public broadcaster. The actions taken by the chairmen and members of the National Broadcasting Council has not been effective for a long period of time, which did raise reservations. Nontheless, a sudden termination of the term of a constitutional body such as the Council will surely deepen the current chaos and will postpone the stablization of the functions of public broadcasters. It could also have negative consequences for the society during the dawning period of media digitalization in our country," the President's Office stated in an official media announcement.