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Polish ruling party spokeswoman slams memo by media chief

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 17.03.2017 12:45
A spokeswoman for Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party has slammed a “scandalous" memo sent to Polish journalists by the CEO of publisher Ringier Axel Springer.
Foto: Pexels.com

PiS spokeswoman Beata Mazurek said the memo interfered with the freedom of the media.

In a memo unearthed by public broadcaster TVP, Mark Dekan, the CEO of Swiss-German publisher Ringier Axel Springer Media AG – which owns Polish tabloid Fakt, the Onet website and the Newsweek weekly, among other titles – 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 for a 30-month term.

Dekan wrote that the “ideology and primitive manipulation” of PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński had lost out to “values and common sense”.

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.

‘Outrageous and scandalous’

The memo was discussed late on Thursday on public broadcaster TVP by commentators including PiS spokeswoman Beata Mazurek.

“If this is true, this is unacceptable, outrageous and scandalous,” Mazurek said.

“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.

Mazurek questioned the editorial independence of foreign-owned media in Poland.

“Who makes the decisions? Editors who are Poles, or Angela Merkel, Germany, who are not familiar with the Polish language? Hence the question: are we a free country or a German colony?”

‘No instructions’

However, Ringier Axel Springer journalists said there is nothing irregular about the memo.

Veteran journalist and Newsweek editor-in-chief Tomasz Lis said that no-one at Ringier Axel Springer in Poland is “given any instructions” on how to run their stories.

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

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