MPs from Kukiz' 15 held a press conference in Poland's lower house of parliament, addressing the so-called "large media bill", which follows preliminary changes voted through in December.
The legislation would see TVP (Polish Television), Polskie Radio (Polish Radio) and PAP (the Polish Press Agency) focusing more on their public mission than the companies' commercial aspects.
Deputy Culture Minister Krzysztof Czabański, of the ruling conservative Law and Justice party, said the new legislation "guarantees the full independence of the public media, of journalists, freedom of speech, [and] guarantees a solid financial foundation."
He added that the government “will be completely cut off from any influence in terms of organizational and personnel issues on the public media."
Early versions of the bill included clauses stating that media outlets must “cultivate national traditions,” be “patriotic” and “respect Christian values”, while simultaneously indicating that current staff would have their contracts terminated, subject to a possible rehiring after three months.
“If it is supposed to be national television, then where was the consultation with the nation?” commented Kukiz'15 MP Piotr Liroy-Marzec.
“The ruling party does not listen to creative circles, and that's a huge mistake,” added Liroy-Marzec who, like the head of his party, veteran rock musician Paweł Kukiz, once worked in the music business.
“The bill should be the subject of consultations with creative circles, journalists and artists,” he said.
“The government is not interested in dialogue,” he claimed, adding that “the arrogance of Law and Justice is starting to reach its zenith.”
Meanwhile, Sławomir Neumann of the Civic Platform party told Polish Radio on Friday that the new bill marks “the completion of the attack on public media.”
He also drew attention to the fact that viewing figures for TVP have dropped considerably since Law and Justice came to power following the 25 October general election, and that Poland has fallen in a recent ranking concerning freedom of the press.
It is expected that the new legislation will be brought before parliament at the end of April or the beginning of May. (nh/pk)