TELEVISION TRWAM VERSUS ‘A GROUP HOLDING THE AUTHORITY’
Something moved in the issue about the multiplex for the Television Trwam. The weekly ‘Niedziela’ and its editor-in-chief – Fr. inf. Ireneusz Skubiś had his contribution in the ‘new opening’ concerning the Television Trwam. Let’s recall: in the beginning of August 2013, under the decision of the National Broadcasting Council, Foundation Lux Veritatis received concession for broadcasting the program of the Television Trwam on the digital multiplex. Although the foundation paid – as it says – nearly 1.3 million zlotys as the first installment, according to the requirements of the concession change, it is deprived of a possibility of using it. For the Television Poland has the place on this multiplex granted in the concession. The Act about digitalization obliges TVP to release this frequency when it covers 95 percent of the area of Poland with the signal of the public television. However, TVP – despite meeting these requirements – has been broadcasting on the frequency band granted to the Television Trwam till now.
At present the access of the Television Trwam to the multiplex depends on the decision of the chairman of TVP in large extent now. The decision about the earlier releasing the place by the public television is in his hands.
The editor-in-chief of ‘Niedziela’, being agitated by a lack of positive decision in this issue, on 24 October sent a letter to the chairman of TVP Mr. Juliusz Braun. The correspondence which Fr. Skubiś made available also to cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, archbishop Józef Michalik - the chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference, archbishop Wacław Depo – the chairman of the Council for Mass Media of the Polish Episcopal Conference and Fr. Tadeusz Rydzyk CSsR – the director of Radio Maria and Television Trwam, started the exchange of the letters between the Editor-in-Chief of ‘Niedziela’, the Chariman of TVP and the Director of the Television Trwam. The editor-in-chief of ‘Niedziela’ made the fact that Mr. Juliusz Braun had worked as an editor just in the weekly ‘Niedziela’ in the years 1983-89 an important thread of his letter. His relations with Catholic media, his attachment to the Church and trustfulness which he was bestowed, gave hope that the issue of the multiplex will be settled honestly and reliably. ‘It concerns explaining the issue and, first of all, unblocking the possibility of entering the MUX by the Television Trwam. (…) Unfortunately, as we find out, Mr. Braun supports the decision of the National Broadcasting Council. I cannot understand it, because I do not believe that he could be a dishonest and unreliable man. (…) Mr. Juliusz, I deeply ask you to release the place on the multiplex for the Television Trwam. It will be a beautiful gesture for which whole Poland is waiting’ – wrote Fr. inf. Ireneusz Skubiś.
The editor-in-chief of ‘Niedziela’ also noted the level of programs broadcast in the public television. Especially in the last months, as he writes in his letter, ‘in the television which is under your authority, there are wicked things, attacking the Church, bishops and priests’. As an example, he gave an attack on the Church in the context of alleged allegations of pedophilia and the way of treatment of archbishop Józef Michalik by journalists of TVP in media: ‘What had place in television, is aimed against any morality and journalistic ethics. Here I mean the program of Tomasz Lis (…). You come from a worthy, good-mannered family and you represented these good manners while working for ‘Niedziela’. I would like to ask you to make these good manners exist in proceeding, in talks and in broadcasting of the Television Poland.
Asked for an answer, the chairman Juliusz Braun in his correspondence to the Editor-in-Chief of ‘Niedziela’ explains that covering of the area of Poland with the coverage of signal of TVP has not been completely realized, because there are measurements of the variable power of transmitters. Technical details included in the letter of Chairman, however, do not give a satisfactory answer to the question: Why does TVP maintain broadcasting of its signal for the multiplex granted to the Television Trwam, in spite of meeting requirements, included in the Act about digitalization, obliging till releasing the place? The declaration of Juliusz Braun about readiness of ‘releasing the terrestrial digital multiplex before the date defined in frequency reservation, so earlier than 27 April’ – as he writes in his letter – has nothing in common with the statutory obligations of TVP in this respect.
An answer to the letter of Juliusz Braun was given by Fr. Tadeusz Rydzyk CSsR, who was given the whole correspondence by both Fr. Ireneusz Skubiś and the chairman of TVP as the party in the whole issue. The director of the Television Trwam points out that the Foundation Lux Veritatis has been ready for a far-reaching cooperation since the beginning in this difficult situation, in order to lead to solving the argumentative issues in the mode of administrative agreement. ‘It would be enough if the Television Poland SA faced it (…). However, nothing like that happened. The impasse is still going on. And nothing points to the fact that this kind of things would change quickly, especially that the passivity of the chairman of the Office of Electronic Communication in this issue is extremely meaningful’.
In the last part of the letter the chairman of TVP expressed his attitude towards remarks of the Editor-in-Chief of ‘Niedziela’ about the level of broadcast programs and unethical behavior of some journalists of the public television. ‘I am not going to reject responsibility for the whole broadcasting of the Television Poland. (…) There are issues which I think to be a mistake’. The issues mentioned by the chairman of TVP in the letter are: joining the annual celebrations of the Papal Day, transmissions of two debates within ‘A courtyard of dialogue’ or broadcasting the serial about blessed priest Jerzy Popiełuszko were considered by him as examples of direct engagement into the life of the Church. This all is within fulfilling the mission of the public television.
Altogether the per mille of the whole transmission time of TVP. A question can be asked: Are these ‘benefits’ of the public television supposed to replace us, the Catholic society, the program offer of the Television Trwam which is being so effectively blocked under the cover of law and with the cooperation of state institutions?
Gratitude of Fr. Tadeusz Rydzyk is meaningful which is clearly expressed in the correspondence to Fr. inf. Ireneusz Skubiś. For, it was the first time when the chairman of TVP had had an occasion to speak directly as a party in this part of the dispute about a place for the digital multiplex. Also representatives of the ecclesiastical hierarchy could get to know his argumentation . The issue discussed at the public forum shows well-being of the management of the television whose source is, firstly, awareness that cards are given away among participants of media life, even despite what law says, while, secondly – very subjective and calming expression of the ‘reliable’ way of showing the image of the Church. Viewers of the public television, will be able to inform the management of TVP with the usage of the remote control soon whether they agree on such an imposed style of showing the Church, having a choice of the channels of TVP and the Television Trwam.
As media inform, Mr. chairman Juliusz Braun had a meeting with representatives of the Foundation Lux Veritatis. It gives hope that it is sometimes worth referring to values, which were once the basic ones, in relations with significant personalities of the public life. However, it is worrying that only one journalistic group, whose representative is the Editor-in-Chief of ‘Niedziela’, considered it important to claim for the medium within solidarity in the branch, against which another stronger medium with state institutions stood.