TELEVISION TRWAM HAS ENTERED THE MUX 1
THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS THE BETTER
Fr, Ireneusz Skubiś talks with Lidia Kochanowicz, the member of the board management of Lux Veritatis Foundation about struggles connected with the entrance of the Television Trwam into the digital multiplex, about the media reality and about hopes or awakening the social awareness of Poles
FR. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ: – You, as a Director, are a woman-legend when considering the issues connected with placing Television Trwam on the digital multiplex…
LIDIA KOCHANOWICZ: – It was a great concern and three years of a fight for our possibility to enter the multiplex. But what is important: the fight finished with a success – on the overnight of 14 and 15 February 2014, at midnight we started our broadcasting on the digital multiplex with the Holy Mass in front of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady at Jasna Góra.
– You have done a lot on the way to this purpose. Certainly, the director Fr. Tadeusz Rydzyk and the Redemptoris Fathers undertook the great work crowned with a success.
– Each of us had an assigned task, but we all had one purpose: entering the MUX 1. My task was, among the others, studying the whole material at the moment when the National Broadcasting Council had not granted us concession in the first proceeding. During one month I read 6.5 thousand pages of motions of all companies which were attempting at gaining the place in the multiplex. It was also necessary to notice all discrepancies which we later showed in a synthetic material in Sejm commissions, senate commissions and also in our media, which showed the image of the Polish reality and the fact that the media market in Poland was to be concreted completely, that is, no other media apart the ones which are connected with the governing ones, with a kind of media salon in Poland, should enter the MUX1. Then, in this material I saw that we had been hurt – it is not only all about the Foundation but about us as the Catholics - not receiving this place. Not because we had not been prepared, that we had not had financial means or experience, but because we were a kind of a small TV station which, in fact, was and is independent from those who are on the media market today.
– This is a peculiar sociological and political phenomenon, that there are attempts to push away the significant majority of the society aside and make it a dumb mass. You are studying this issue and discern the reality.
– I will tell the truth: at the moment when the director Fr. Tadeusz Rydzyk made a decision that we would be trying to enter the digital multiplex, I did not realize the fact what it meant to be on the multiplex. I thought that we reached to many millions of Poles in Poland and Europe and the world via satellite, and that it was completely sufficient. It was only when we were not granted concession in the first proceeding, that I realized the fact how important it was and it also helped many Poles realize the fact. We must remind that on the MUX 1, MUX2 and MUX3 there had already been companies which did not have to participate in the contest, but they received places simply from political distribution, through a suitable act. However, we, as society, were not informed about what good it was and what it entails. Generally, we did not know that in 2006 there was Geneva where particular frequencies were distributed. Today we know that broadcasting via multiplex means a possibility of reaching to every Pole, to every family in Poland. It is very important because at the time of economic crisis, when the society is getting poor, many Poles do not have any other possibility of watching TV than only the widely accessible multiplex. Now we will be able to reach to over 23 per cent people more.
Therefore, it is important to show the reality of refusing us concession, situation, how motions were evaluated in a discretionary administrative way and to whom it was granted. Let’s remember that companies connected with Polsat and TVN received the place on the multiplex. This all showed us at what those governing these media were aiming.
The Foundation was successful, but, undoubtedly, thanks to the support of many Catholics and people who understood this situation and supported us with their signatures and letters to the National Broadcasting Council and later with marches which took place in Poland, Europe and in the whole world. It is also valuable that the whole situation which appeared during the whole concession process, awakened the consciences of the civilian society, which are Poles.
– The fight of the Television Trwam for the place on the multiplex had a political dimension, gave the nation a possibility of aiming at some democratic solutions.
– Regardless of the fact if we are looking at the issue of granting a place on the multiplex from the point of view of those governing Poland, or those who have liquidated the discipline of the media market – this issue has a political dimension to much extent. But there is also a social dimension here, because the process of concession work and what was happening during the last three years in Poland, awakened the awareness of Poles which is very important.
– We must say that here there is also a moral dimension because this is the issue of distributing some belongings. So, it would be not honest…
– If we mean ethics and morality of those who decided about concession distribution, it was surely neither ethical nor moral. Because the National Broadcasting Council was hiding behind the so-called administration discretion, that is, it was known in advance who was going to receive concession and regardless of what economic situation he was or what experience he had, he received this confession.
– Entering of the Television Trwam into the multiplex will open Poles’ eyes to the issue of the truth.
– Yes. Therefore, we were fighting for the place on the MUX1. We are going to be the first independent television accessible for all people. We are going to speak with a different voice than other broadcasters. And, as it is happening now - we are going to tell the truth. It is very important for us, Polish Catholics. However, it is connected with a kind of anxiety towards another party which was maintaining on its bastion with such a stubbornness in order not to let us into the multiplex.
– Now you are going to face up a big problem of keeping the Television Trwam on the guaranteed level.
– It is our another experience. Let’s notice that the media market, particular TV stations are kept from commercials addressed to the station by three big media houses - two set up by owners of Polsat, TVN and one more managing surveys about the so-called popularity among viewers. I also analyzed the way in which surveys are carried out. And it turns out that this commercial cake is as big as 4 milliard zlotys during a year. Such money has been distributed and, considering commercials, for particular television stations. At this moment it is also a fight for money. And money is one thing, and another thing is the fact that media houses have a huge influence on what we watch on TV, for example, X programme in the Polish Television or Y programme in TVN or if it has 4 million viewers in Polsat – and here there are commercials. But in a time of commercials, there can also be a good programme which includes ethical values and is valuable. However, the media house can say: there will not be any commercials for this program during its broadcasting, because its viewing figures is too low; it is useless to give time to this programme, and we must transfer it to the time of lower popularity, for example, between 2 and 4 a.m. and replace it by such and such program without such values, and then we will broadcast commercials. And this is very dangerous because it shows that companies which give their commercials to television, have a huge influence on what we watch. I have not realized the mechanism till now, I thought that it is all only about money, but these are the media houses which create the programme reality broadcast to us.
Sometimes it is difficult to believe that in commercial television stations there are programmes of very low quality which create what is inconsistent with the truth, with ethics, with Christian values, but these progarmmes receive high notes of watching and commercials are given just there.
– We hope that the commercial market will be set properly in the Television Trwam.
– Certainly. Television Trwam is a phenomenon not only in Poland, but also in the world which is based on the fact that we have faithful viewers, accompanying us for many years, trusting us – in respect for the values which we give. It is not all about accepting commercials and take money for them, but about the fact that if we are going to advertise a product, service or report on an issue, it must be compatible with ethics.
– It also seems that we must make decisions which would make Television Trwam competitive with other television stations and programmes.
– We are already competitive in telling the truth, maintaining Catholic values, having faithful viewers who trust us. These are the values for which we have been working for many years. We already have it and we cannot lose it.
– There will be more viewers because people are curious how Television Trwam reacts to everything what is happening in Poland.
– There will be more of them because now a lot of people will have an access to this television, and they have not had it till now. Among our viewers there will also be people who are not related to Television Trwam, but, accidently pressing a remote control, comes across this station, will stay for a while at it for curiosity, will become interested and maybe will remain with us longer. I hope so.
– I cordially congratulate Lux Veritatis Foundation which you represent, the great achievement which is entering the digital multiplex. As we said, it is also a success of all Polish Catholics. I hope that now it will be possible to do so much good for particular people and for Poland. We will try to cooperate actively with Television Trwam…
– Thank you very much and I hope that it will be so. We must always go forward as Father Director says, because if we do not go forwards, we are only standing in one place, that is, we are receding. We must tell this truth to all people who are fed up with what is shown in media and who are waiting for words of the truth. This is the first step towards the better.