Smoky Mountains Sunrise

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Poland is Rising Against Suppression of Media Freedom by the Polish Government Agency

On April 21, 2012, an unprecedented number of 120,000 Poles protested on the streets of Warsaw against Polish government agency decision to restrict access to independent media for millions of Poles. Similar protests were held on the streets of many cities all over in Poland.

Elected by the ruling party, the Civic Platform (PO), the post-communists (SLD), and President Komorowski, the Polish media regulatory agency, broke the law and refused to grant license to independent TV Trwam despite its multi-million viewer base, long-term presence and excellent financial standing.

Protesters see this decision as a reversal to the dark years of communism when only government-controlled media were allowed to exist in Poland between 1944-1989.

The agency's refusal to allow broadcast rights to TV Trwam triggered massive street protests in Poland, unheard of since 1989 when Poland regained its independence from Soviet-imposed communism.

In Warsaw, the protest, lasting over five hours, began with the Holy Mass, followed by a peaceful march to Prime Minister Tusk's headquarters, then continued to President Komorowski's residence.

                                                      Protesters chanted:
“Prime Minister Tusk, rule Poland Polish style, not Russian style."
"God, Honor and Motherland"
"We will not surrender TV Trwam"
"TV Trwam today, other independent media tomorrow…"
"Let's show solidarity in our struggle for truth and remembrance"

Over 2.2 million people sent letters in defense of plurality of media in Poland and requested decision reversal and granting broadcasting license to TV Trwam.

The decision by the media agency was condemned by a significant majority of editors of major Polish newspapers, magazines, and independent media; by hundreds of non-governmental organizations and civic organizations (including the Polish Helsinki Foundation);

The magnitude of protests were not shown in mainstream media.

Video link to the manifestation independent coverage. Scroll time slide bar to advance.

Full 5 hour coverage; Scroll time slide bar to advance.

The April 21 protest was a huge manifestation of Poles' deep love of liberty, democracy, and traditional values.

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