The victory of national conservatives in the Polish elections last week is a harbinger of grim times for the country’s journalists. Are their plans similar to those of premier Viktor Orban in Hungary? They resemble them, but bringing the media into line will not be a cakewalk in Poland.
In 2016 public media will become national media in Poland. This is what politicians of Law and Justice (PiS), the national conservative party, declared after winning the 25 October parliamentary elections and, earlier in May 2015, the presidential ones. It means a revolution for Polish Television (TVP) and Polish Radio (PR), strong public broadcasters that have 31% and 28% share of the market, respectively.
But what does it mean in reality for them to become national media?
The video of a Hungarian reporter filmed tripping refugees made headlines all over the world. The station she worked for is close to Jobbik, an extreme right-wing political party. But that is not all Jobbik sympathizers build in Hungary.
A female cameraman tripped an escaping refugee holding a child, and also kicked another child while she was shooting a refugee crowd escaping from the police at the Serbian-Hungarian border in early September 2015. The footage quickly spread globally. Petra Laszlo, the cameraman in question, became world famous, and was made redundant from television N1TV (“n” standing for national in Hungarian). A police proceeding was launched against her for disturbing the peace. She became a hero of the extreme-right wing Hungarian community with people demanding N1TV to take her back.