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Poland seeks explanation over memo by German-Swiss publisher: report

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 17.03.2017 22:59
The foreign ministry in Warsaw has said that it will seek an explanation over a memo sent to Polish journalists by the CEO of publisher Ringier Axel Springer, according to public media.
Photo: pixabay.comPhoto: pixabay.com

Polish public broadcaster TVP cited the foreign ministry as saying: “We express our concern that German-Swiss company Ringier Axel Springer sent a letter to its Polish employees which could constitute an attempt to interfere with media independence in Poland.

“The situation of the media market in Poland has already been the subject of bilateral talks many times. We will ask our partners for explanations.”

Changes to media law?

Meanwhile, TVP reported that Poland’s governing conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party has announced swift changes to Polish media law.

PiS spokeswoman Beata Mazurek told TVP: “We would like to... decrease the share of foreign capital in the Polish media market in a decided way so that market reflects what’s happening in Poland and is an spokesman for Polish interests.”

Polish conservatives have often complained that media outlets in Poland are controlled by foreign owners who are able to sway Polish public opinion.

In a memo unearthed by TVP, Mark Dekan, the CEO of Ringier Axel Springer Media AG - which owns Polish tabloid Fakt, the Onet website and the Newsweek weekly - wrote to staff that “Poles won” together with Donald Tusk when he was recently re-elected head of the European Council.

The Polish government strongly opposed Tusk’s reelection last week to the top EU post.

In the memo, Dekan praised plans for a “multi-speed Europe”, saying that there not only are two speeds within the bloc, but “also parking lots”.

He encouraged his staff to remember that “our readers and users are made up of the overwhelming majority which supports Poland’s membership of the EU”.

“Let’s suggest to them what to do in order to stay in the fast lane and not to end up in the parking lot,” the memo read.


PiS spokeswoman Mazurek said: “If this is true, this [memo] is unacceptable, outrageous and scandalous.”

She added: “No media owner has the right to rupture the freedom of the media, journalistic conscience and manipulate public opinion.

“[Dekan] should be held responsible, prosecutors should deal with this issue,” Mazurek added.


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