Polish filmmakers defend TV license fee

By FNE Staff

    A group of Polish artists, including filmmakers Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi and Agnieszka Holland, wants Prime Minister Donald Tusk to drop government plans to abolish the radio and TV license fees and to privatize public radio and television.

    In an open letter carried by the Polish press on Thursday (March 27), the artists - which also included composers Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Gorecki - said licensing was the most honest way to finance the public media.

    The ruling Civic Platform campaigned on abolishing license fees and privatizing the public media before winning last year's elections. The government says the fee income would be replaced by subsidies directly from the state budget.

    "If the government wants to take the burden off citizens' shoulders and finance the public media from the state budget, perhaps it should permit the license fees to be deducted from taxes, rather than make the public radio and television dependent on the state administration," the letter said. "The cultural identity of the nation, education and protection of the purity of the language should not be subjected to the free market."