KRRiT vindicates TVN

Luc Williams

The Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council, Maciej Świrski, imposed a financial sanction in the amount of PLN 550,000. PLN to TVN24 for the broadcast of the film “Bielmo. Franciszkańska 3” on March 6, 2023, as a result of which “TVN SA violated Article 18(1) and (2) of the Broadcasting Act” – as found by the National Broadcasting Council.

Report “Bielmo. Franciszkańska 3”

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). 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.

TVN SA believes that the decision to punish the station “has no basis, violates media freedom and is an attempt to introduce censorship” – as the editor-in-chief of TVN24 wrote in a statement sent to PAP on March 6, 2024, the day the penalty was imposed, and ” Faktów” TVN Michał Samul. “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,” 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.


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