CATHOLICS EXCLUDED DIGITALLY
Two Seym commissions were engaged in the digitalization of the ground-based television on the same day. During a debate, parliamentarians of the Law and Justice Party and Solidary Poland were fighting for the concession of the Television ‘Trwam’.
The information on the digitalization caused most interest among the parliamentarians of the Law and Justice Party and the Solidary Poland and the representatives of the Fund Lux Veritatis which is a broadcaster of the Television ‘Trwam’. As a result of the decision by the National Broadcasting Council, the television directed by the Redemptorist Fathers did not receive the concession for broadcasting the digital ground-based signal. According to some analytics of the Polish market, it is pushing away the Catholics viewers from the trend of media. Just after the beginning of the debates, during which the information on implementing the digital television was to be presented, the chairman of the commission Iwona Śledzińska-Katarasińska from the Civic Platform decided about a break till the next meeting. The debate lasted nearly 3 min and 36 s – we came here in order to hear that it was a several-days break. It is not serious to treat people in this way – says Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, the director of the Television ‘Trwam’. However, the debate on the digitalization of the television took place during the meeting of the second Seym Commission for Innovation and Modern Technologies.
Commission without good manners
The issue of the concession for the Television ‘Trwam’ is not convenient for most members of the Seym Commission, and also for the National Broadcasting Council. – We do not know even now why some stations received a free concession for the digital television, whereas others didn’t. For, no mentioned premises are suggested by it, and the representatives of the National Council often diverged from the truth –says Elżbieta Kruk, a parliamentarian of the Law and Justice Party and the former chairman of the National Broadcasting Council. – The whole process is not clear and took place while omitting the truth. The breach of the procedure is especially annoying in the case of the television of the Redemptorist Fathers because it concerns the only broadcaster in this group – the Television ‘Trwam’ is not a commercial product. It exists thanks to the social demand – explains Elżbieta Kruk, whereas the chairman Jan Dworak is behaving in such a way as if he cared only for the interests of the broadcasters, but not viewers. –I am asking how he is fulfilling his constitutional duties. After all, after his decisions, over 2 millions of complaint letters came to the National Broadcasting Council, and thousands of people in tens of cities went out onto streets to protest – says Kruk. Together with the growing wave of protests, any possible actions are undertaken also by the management of the Fund Lux Veritatis. We sued the decision of the National Broadcasting Council to the administrative court. We also submitted an application to the Office of Electronic Communication in the matter of stopping the process of allowing for the concession to other broadcasters– says Lidia Kochanowicz, the financial director of the Fund Lux Veritatis. For it turns out that the Office of Electronic Communication had reserved the frequencies for the broadcasters before the decision about granting the concession by the National Broadcasting Council was validated. So, one of these state offices omitted the law. As a result, television stations started broadcasting their programs in December whereas the governmental decision about granting the concession to them became valid but not earlier until in the mid of January. During the meeting of the Commission for Innovation and Modern Technologies, both Lidia Kochanowicz and the parliamentarian Beata Kempa were trying to find out which of these offices was acting outside the law. Magdalena Gaj was explaining that she had received this decision from the National Broadcasting Council, whereas the chairmen of the Council were saying that it was not their fault, but only the complicated procedures were to be blamed. So, there is nobody to blame, and the law was breached. – Therefore, I submit the application for providing the Seym with all documents in this matter – said Beata Kempa during the meeting of the Commission.
Who is fulfilling the mission better?
Jan Dziedziczak, the parliamentarian of the Law and Justice Party mentions many arguments which, in a normal democratic country, should decide about granting the concession for the Television ‘Trwam’ from Toruń. He reminds that during the last Worldly Youth’s Days in Madrid it was the first time for 30 years, when TVP had not broadcast, for example, the Pope’s pilgrimage. While the Television ‘Trwam’ was broadcasting the meeting with Benedict XVI, TVP invited a satanist to one of its programs, who had torn to pieces the Holy Scripture earlier. – Who is fulfilling the public mission better? Who represents the religious sensitivity of millions of Poles, and who insults the religious sensitivity? – Dziedziczak asks rhetorically. In the last weeks it was revealed that the National Broadcasting Council was making not only scandalous decisions in the respect of media pluralism and theme variety, and also from the economic point of view. The decision about granting the frequency for the TV ATM Entertainment turned out to be unsuccessful in results. It has broadcast only a trial program for a few months, and these programs can be found in its offer, do not fulfil requirements on which it received the frequency on the first multiplex. It does not fulfil requirements and therefore we started the proceedings about the elusion of the concession – explained Jan Dworak during the meeting of the Commission. It turns out again that the decisions of the National Broadcasting Council generate a scandal by scandal. – TV station ATM does not broadcast the program because it does not have any money for its production; whereas our television has been proving for many years that it has money for many productions but it did not get the concession – emphasizes Lidia Kochanowicz. Over 2 millions of gathered signatures and demonstrations among a few thousands of people in the streets in many cities must make an impression also on the authority. None of other television stations is able to mobilize such a big social engagement. From their point of view, it is much more convenient to give away the concession to friendly TV stations or some entertainment channels than the Television ‘Trwam’, which presents the Christian worldly opinions. So, the decisions of the National Broadcasting Council is inscribed in a wider trend of fighting the Church in Poland – says Dziedziczak. So, therefore, all people who care about the future of Poland, freedom and democracy, should stand firmly in the defence for the Television ‘Trwam’. Now we can see that a citizen is not treated subjectively, and the authority is becoming more and more arrogant. So, I am appealing to all the people of good will for support – emphasizes Father Tadeusz Rydzyk.
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FATHER TADEUSZ RYDZYK – Director of the Television ‘Trwam’ and Radio ‘Maryja’
When I see what is happening in our country, I am thinking whether we will be excluded or will get this concession. After all, millions of people and all bishops of the Polish Episcopal Conference support us and today I see reinforced concrete again. The chairman says about pluralism in media. However, in practice it means pluralism between the channel broadcasting the English music and the French one, whereas we say that in every country there should be ideal pluralism.