NEW PUBLIC MEDIA
JAN MARIA JACKOWSKI
Commercial often raises approvals to popular tastes
There are works on the act of functioning public media. Is it necessary, or cannot television or radio function in the same form as now? The recent years show that the organizational-legal formula of public media made them be an element prolonging the authority camp, which at a particular time was governing in the country. Also, they did not fulfill the mission of public media, although they are kept from compulsory subscription paid by Poles. In this respect, they play a particular role as public media. It concerns, among the others, respect to Polish culture built on Christianity, strengthening national values, reliable informing or creating an open forum of a public debate.
Were the legislation tasks realized? In this respect each reader has surely his own opinion. The problem is the way of creating authorities of public media companies. For, we deal with the domina rule. A liberal-leftist-post-communist camp, which was holding authority in Poland with short breaks after 1989, had an essential influence on the staff of the National Radio and Television Council. The council, created in a political way, had an influence on selecting the staff of supervisory councils of public media, whereas the latter ones influenced selecting the staff of managements, and managements – on chiefs of TV and radio channels. In this way, the political rule domina was changed into the form of managing public media, and this had a direct influence on their content.
Surely, the key is the change of a way of appointing the most important people in media. There returns the question about commercialization of public media which has been misunderstood for years. Public media had a status of joint-stock companies and were based on rules of the commercial code. So, they have statutory tasks based on elaborating profits. Hence, the element of commercialization, which was present in public media, is strong. Commercial often raises approvals to popular tastes – many mission programmes, that is, the ones which deal with high culture, were pushed aside onto a margin or were not even broadcast. And it happened so, according to the general belief, that they would not attract viewers.
Commercialization played a negative role, because it happened at the cost of mission. So, it is necessary to depart from the formula of commercial law company. Therefore, a good idea is changing public media into national institutions of culture. In this way they would function as institutions of public confidence with particular authorities and ensured means for their statutory activity, that is, mission described in a statutory way.
Financing new public media would take place via the state budget. There are also considerations of replacing subscription by a lower audio-visual fee. In this way public media would provide a financial stability which is particularly important for public radio stations, which in the current system have been struggling with financial difficulties. In most cases the public opinion concentrates on the Polish Television, and public media are ‘a big radio, that is, the Polish Radio with its programmes and 17 regional companies.
Providing a permanent financing radio and television, basing on the state budget, will give a possibility of creating long-waved programmes and it will also be possible to control their mission. As there appears an opinion that the Law and Justice party wants to change media, and the statement is repeated like mantra, that ‘this is an assassination on democracy’. Every action of the Law and Justice government is accompanied hysteria, particularly these moves, which are not in the catalogue of expectations of ‘the progress and democracy camp’, assigning monopol to itself for holding authority in Poland, and governing souls. Everything which does not belong to visions of this camp is an assassination on democracy. This camp follows the old rule of Kaly: ‘When Kali steals cows, it is good, but when Kali has his cows stolen, it is not good’.