New Government Gives Newscast a Makeover

Poland's prime minister promised to remove propaganda
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 21, 2023 7:00 PM CST
New Government Gives Newscast a Makeover
Police officers arrive at the headquarters of Poland's state-owned TVP broadcaster to observe protests of changes to state media.   (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Viewers in Poland watched a remolded main evening newscast on state television Thursday, after the country's new, pro-European Union government took control of state media to free it from the control and propaganda of the previous right-wing rulers. Prime Minister Donald Tusk, whose Cabinet took office last week, has promised to free the outlet and other state-owned media of the former ruling conservatives' propaganda and divisive policies. The first broadcast under the new authorities began with experts and officials explaining why programs under the previous government violated standards of fairness and objectivity, and why the new government had to make changes quickly. Even the name of the program was changed, the AP reports, from News to 19.30, the broadcast time on the main channel, TVP1.

The program then carried a report on the 2024 budget debate in parliament, followed by other news from Poland and around the world that included various viewpoints. At the end, the newscaster said the program aspired to the highest standards and would also consider critical voices. Other programs on TVP1, such as sitcoms and quiz shows, remained unchanged. Police and security forces erected barriers in front of TVP's main building in the capital, Warsaw, after leaders of the Law and Justice party that was ousted from power following elections two months ago began a sit-in inside the building on Wednesday to protest the changes implemented by the government.

Some remained inside on Thursday, per the AP, when police allowed only authorized employees into the TVP building. The government on Wednesday said it had fired and replaced the directors of the state television and radio outlets and the government-run news agency, PAP. They had been under control of the right-wing Law and Justice party during its eight years in power, and were used as the government mouthpiece, denigrating government critics and the opposition and spreading euroskeptic views. The change of TVP management was sudden, and the new editorial team apparently had no time to prepare a full evening newscast on Wednesday. Instead, a newly appointed anchor came on the air to explain the situation, promising unbiased newscasts would start on Thursday.

(More Poland stories.)

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