“Bielmo. Franciszkańska 3”. Penalty from the National Broadcasting Council for TVN for broadcasting

Luc Williams

The Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council decided that “TVN SA violated Article 18(1) and (2) of the Broadcasting Act by broadcasting the program entitled +Bielmo. Franciszkańska 3+ (TVN 24 program, “Black and White” series, March 6, 2023 )”.

“The decision of the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council to impose a fine on the TVN24 editorial office for the report +Franciszkańska 3+ has no basis, violates media freedom and is an attempt to introduce censorship” – wrote Michał Samul, editor-in-chief of TVN24 and “Fakty” TVN, in a statement sent to PAP .

“The mission of journalists is to inform and reveal facts – including those that show difficult truths. The +Franciszkańska 3+ report is the result of many months of work, based on witness accounts and source materials, and above all, it gives a voice to the victims of abuse in the Church themselves,” he explained.

“The financial penalty for TVN24 is another attempt to intimidate our and many other editorial offices. It poses a threat to viewers' right to information. We will always defend journalists so that they can inform you about what is important. Therefore, we will immediately appeal against this decision to court.” – Samul pointed out.

It is written on the KRRiT website that “after the broadcast of the report, the National Council received a record number of complaints in the history of the KRRiT.” It was reported that 6,058 occurrences were registered (e-mails, forms from the website, notifications via the ePUAP platform and letters sent by traditional mail). These speeches contained 39,613 signatures of citizens expressing their opposition to the content of the broadcast.

According to the National Broadcasting Council, “during the explanatory proceedings initiated by the National Broadcasting Council, experts confirmed that the material did not meet the criteria of reportage and the standards of journalistic ethics.”

It was noted that “the program was based on the materials of the Security Service of the Polish People's Republic (reports obtained by the Security Service) and other documentation collections were not checked.” “No in-depth research was carried out, no events were connected, and the entire narrative was adapted to the previously stated thesis. Analysis of the material showed the presence of content in the program that was contrary to the law and social good, harming religious feelings, in this particular case of Catholics, and disinforming public opinion,” it said .

It was written that “when issuing the decision, the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council emphasized that media freedom and freedom of public expression are not unlimited.” “Journalists operate within a specific legal framework. Their rights and obligations are regulated by the Act of January 26, 1984, Press Law, and the Act of December 29, 1992 on Broadcasting, which oblige them to provide reliable information and respect the religious feelings of the recipients,” it was noted. “In addition, the violation occurred in a cyclical program broadcast in a high-viewing band,” it added.

The Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council called on the broadcaster to stop breaking the law and decided to impose a financial sanction in the amount of PLN 550,000.


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