Considering a complaint filed by Krystyna Pawlowicz, MP, against the national television broadcaster TVN, dated October 26, 2016, the Polish National Broadcasting Council (“PNBC”) declared part of the allegations to be justified – reads the official statement.
"The effect of permanent bias and consistent contempt for representatives of the current administration in the news program "Fakty" by TVN is such that, like other members of PiS, I feel personally the object of constant attack. I feel threatened,” wrote MP Krystyna Pawlowicz in her October 2016 complaint.
At the end of October 2016, MP Pawłowicz wrote multiple letters to the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council describing actions of TVN that directly threatened her personal safety and security. MP Pawlowicz complained about TVN inciting violence against her already back in October 2016, long before the parliamentary crisis of December 16, 2016, in which she was physically attacked while leaving the Parliament by a mob summoned for protests by, among others, TVN.
The effect of permanent bias and persistent contempt for representatives of the currently governing Law and Justice Party (PiS) by the news program "Fakty" on the nationwide television station TVN is such that I, and other members of PIS, we constantly feel being under relentless brutal attack. I feel threatened as a result of constant hateful aggressive attacks on us orchestrated by producers of “Fakty.” Relentlessly projected hatred towards us poses a real threat because it stimulates and encourages aggression of the individuals from the opposition towards us. We receive threats of bodily harm and threats of arson to our parliamentary offices, despite the fact that we have been elected to the Parliament in free, transparent and democratic elections.
Even though we hold a legitimate mandate to represent our people, in "Fakty" by TVN we are the object of permanent aggression, hate, media lies, and vulgarity aimed to demoralize the public, including children. TVN promotes such behavior in programs like "Fakty." Such behavior violates the terms of TVN broadcasting license, the Polish broadcasting law, and the Polish Constitution. TVN "Fakty" has been effectively creating an atmosphere that incites opponents of the current government to violence. Similar behavior already led several years ago a sympathizer of Civic Platform Party (“PO”) Mr. Cyba to murder the deputy of PIS regional office Mr. Rosiak, MP Pawłowicz wrote in her complaint.
The National Broadcasting Council considered a complaint submitted on October 26, 2016 by MP Krystyna Pawlowicz against TVN. After careful analysis of the above complaint and considering a response submitted by TVN, the PNBC declares herein that part of the allegations are justified.
The Polish National Broadcasting Council condemns the actions described in the complaint. They include intentional actions of the broadcaster aimed at emphasizing only certain selected information while ignoring and omitting other relevant information, not reacting to factual untruth, inciting social tensions, rush for sensation, as well as directing negative emotions of the viewers against specific individuals and groups. Such acts meet the definition of hate speech.
While respecting broadcasters’ freedom of expression and the right to evaluate actions of the government, the parliament and individual politicians, the PNBC calls on TVN to avoid in the future this type of hate speech narrative.
A commitment of TVN to one side of the political dispute was clearly observed through the selection and sequence of quotes from the protests. Such activities may constitute evidence that TVN promotes hate speech and incites hatred.
The Law as stated in Article 18 Section 1 of the Act on Radio and Television prohibits such actions: “Programmers or other broadcasts may not promote illegal activity, directed against the State, contrary to the moral and social interest, in particular cannot include content that incites to hatred or discriminates on grounds of race, disability, gender, religion or nationality,” states PNBC.
Below are some examples of inappropriate reporting by TVN presented by MP Pawlowicz in her complaint:
-A specially emphasized statement by Prime Minister Szydło joking that together with Minister Morawiecki they are "anointed" by Jaroslaw Kaczynski was supplemented by TVN Fakty with offensive material against Jaroslaw Kaczynski and Prime Minister Szydlo, using comments by R. Petru and J. Palikot, leaders of political groups opposing PiS.
- In another material dealing with the status of judges of the Constitutional Court, viewers were negatively preconditioned to MP Stanislaw Piotrowicz, first by showing a statement by MP Gasiuk-Pihowicz, who addressed MP Piotrowicz per "Mr. Prosecutor." The author of this program, Mr. Skórzyński who showed a lively discussion from the parliamentary commission completed the report with the following commentary: "The author of this bill, as well as all previous bills, is MP Stanislaw Piotrowicz, most famous for fighting the Court. Now he wants to discipline judges," Skorzynski therefore directed the dislike and anger of the audience towards MP Piotrowicz, even inciting hatred.
The above program ends with the insinuations targeting PiS MP Piotrowicz and President Duda: "They treat judges of the Court like little children, so they can be easier disciplined," and MP Gasiuk- Pihowicz describing the proposed “bill of "MP Piotrowicz" as "another salvo directed against the Constitutional Court and its Chairman."
Hence, the program directs and stimulates strong dislike of viewers towards MP S. Piotrowicz, while being greatly deceptive because MP Piotrowicz was not the author of any draft laws related to the Constitutional Court and he never conducted any “fight against the Court," He simply conducts his duties as MP and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Judiciary.
- A program of Arleta Zalewska on the protest in Warsaw against the anti-abortion bill drafted and submitted to the parliament by an organization Ordo Juris presented outrageous scenes that violate the dignity of children and young people and the feelings of many parents. The material included a long statement of a protester, apparently a teacher, who concluded by turning into the camera with an appeal to her female students: "My dear students, I hope you will be here with me!"
In the same material another inappropriate and untrue statement was presented. One of the persons says that: "The Parliament proceeds with a bill that allows for barbarism and torture against women." Such inflammatory statement of course is supposed to stimulate aversion, anger and hate against the parliamentary majority, i.e., against PiS MPs. In fact, there was never any such bill of "barbarism and torture for women" proceeded in the Parliament.
Another scandalous scene of this material is a long shot of a 10-year-old boy with a half-masked face and a 9-year old girl, both holding a banners in their hands stating "liberty, equality, and the right to abortion!!!" Clearly, such actions violate the dignity of these and all other children, violate the rules of journalistic ethics, good manners and universally recognized moral principles, that children should not be exploited in the fights of adults. The author of the material showed a contempt and disregard for the mental health of the filmed children.
The material of Ms. A. Zalewska ends with contemptuous, sexist and offensive statement of the opposition MP concerning Prime Minister Szydło and Chairman Kaczynski: "Beata Szydło, perhaps only by kindness of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is called the Prime Minister." This is another proof of the policy of contempt and hate towards female MPs from the other political camp consistently implemented by TVN "Fakty."
- A short footage showing anger and concern of women and an inflammatory and hateful statement about the government shouted by one of the female protesters: "Do you want to live in a country where you will be afraid for your life?" Then the camera shows vulgar and offensive sign held by one of the women: "F…-off the lout from my uterus," referring to PiS Chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who just supported further discussion on both liberal and conservative drafts of the abortion bills and called on other members of PiS for such support.
- Material by J. Sobieniowski entitled. "Very expensive plans of Macierewicz."
This material was outrageously manipulated. It was supplemented with various statements taken out of contents as responses to questions not heard by the viewer. The material suggests that Minister of National Defense is organizing his own "private army” for millions and billions of taxpayer’s money.
The author of the material said that "in three years the Macierewicz army will cost even half a billion zlotys", while referring to civil defense of the country.
J. Sobieniowski ridicules contemptuously Minister of National Defense by, amog others, calling civil defense as "Macierewicz private army." This message is sent against the indisputable lack of civil defense in Poland, in the situation where territorial defense expenditures for defense of the population in the event of war are obvious and necessary. The author also ridicules Minister of Interior M. Błaszczak. Someone outside the plan of the film asks him: "Does the volunteers get a gun?" To which Min. Błaszczak replies, in accordance with his scope of rersponsibility, that: "The author of this bill is Minister Macierewicz." J. Sobieniowski comments on this reply that: "Minister Błaszczak does not want to answer this question either."
The next outrageously manipulated speech of Minister and Deputy Minister of National Defense W. Falkowski ends with equally outrageous statements by Mr R. Grupiński that: "Territorial self-defense has, in fact, created militias to guard PiS political interests" and insulting insinuations by MP Petru about just created territorial defense: "This private army may be used against the Polish people, defending their interests" (!!!)
This hateful and deceitful material ridiculing Minister Macierewicz ( "private army of Macierewicz") who is in charge of the security of the Polish state, is extremely harmful because it is directed security of the Polish state. The author of the material directs anger and contempt of the viewers towards Minister Macierewicz for allegedly unnecessary excessive expenditures for "Macierewicz army," that serves as "a militia guarding the PiS political interest."
This deceptive and manipulated material is in its entirety an example of "hate speech" and "strategy of contempt" towards Minister of Defense Antoni Macierewicz.
- In the material under the title: "Political turmoil," after the words of the PiS leader about abortion, the host Justyna Pochanke tries to invoke negative fillings towards Jaroslaw Kaczynski by manipulating his statement. She begins by saying: "The outrage and political comments do not stop after the speech given by Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Leader PiS speaks again about the changes, and again, it sounds cruel."
In fact, in this criticized speech Jaroslaw Kaczynski expressed sympathy for women with difficult pregnancies, spoke about the help and support for women, and his interview with PAP did not contain any statements about forcing and coercing birth and baptism of children. TVN 'Fakty’ has manipulated his entire speech to create hate and arouse aggression of viewers, especially women, towards Kaczynski.
- In the second material, although the authors knew the full interview of Kaczynski with PAP they misrepresent it again in order to sustain aggression and anxiety of women. This time TVN encourages and calls for demonstration in front of the private residence of Chairman Kaczynski. Such actions violate all standards of politics, political culture and the inviolability of the home privacy of this politician. The authors of this material behaved as leaders of the action of violence and hatred against the leader of the governing party, not even respecting the inviolability of the privacy of his home. J. Pochanke concludes her piece by calling for further demonstrations against Jaroslaw Kaczynski by saying: "Women did not lay down their arms."
M. Nykiel presented a very good analysis of this program by "Fakty" in the article "That is how you do a revolt ..." The article was published on the portal wpolityce.pl:
- In the same edition of "Fakty," the material on illegal shelters reported about supposedly a priest, "Father Mark," who illegally operated a dormitory in appalling conditions in Zgierz. As a result, several people died. At the end the authors report that "Father Marek" escaped, but do not explain that he was not a real priest, but an imposter and swindler who fled abroad. This material directed the anger of the viewers towards the Catholic Church and Catholic priests.
- Material on the Re-privatization Committee. The speaker suggests provocatively that PiS 'invents' this committee. He then questions the constitutionality of this committee and suggests its complete illegality. The very idea of this committee was to be ridiculed.
- Material by Arleta Zalewska about further protests. Although numerous efforts were undertaken to explain to the pubic repeatedly manipulated statements by Jaroslaw Kaczynski in the interview with PAP, the host commented favorably on the expression of anger demonstrated by many women towards Jaroslaw Kaczynski as a result of the manipulation of his statements. The host presents a statement of one of the women that "no one will tell her whether to give birth and to baptize her child," even though the host knows very well that such statements are unfounded and based on the lies. "Fakty" intentionally sustained false, manipulated words of Chairman Kaczynski that incited anger, hatred and protests against the Chairman of the governing PiS.
- Material by M. Knapik "Women did not fold their umbrellas and once again took to the streets." Although MPs Sasin and Gosiewska say in this material that "in the Parliament nothing is going on, no steps or actions are undertaken that would aim at tightening the abortion law" and that "This subject is nonexistent today; we do not discuss any changes to the law in this area in the parliament," yet J. Sobieniowski depreciates these assurances, saying:" this is not entirely true, because in the Parliament there is a bill to ban abortion completely. It was submitted to the Parliament as a petition in mid-September."
It must be emphasized that this project was submitted to the Sejm by one of the grass root organizations and was handed over to the Petition Committee. Such submission of a petition to the Petition Committee does not mean that the project is "under consideration" and that the Sejm acts upon it.
MP Krystyna Pawlowicz concluded her complaint to the PNBC by asking the Chairman "to intervene and take appropriate action, within the sphere of competence of the PNBC."
Photo: Piotr Galant