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Hungary public media voices support for independent Polish public media

The Hungarian public media stands by Poland's independent public media, Daniel Papp, the head of Hungary's Media Service Support and Asset Management Fund (MTVA), and Anita Altorjai, the head of public service media service provider Duna Mediaszolgaltato, said in a letter to the leaders of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on Thursday.
27. January 2024 6:04

In their letter to EBU President Delphine Ernotte-Cunci and Director-General Noel Curran, Papp and Altorjai cited reports of Poland’s public media having become the “prisoners” of the Polish government even despite rulings by the Polish constitutional court.

The public media leaders therefore expressed MTVA and Duna Mediaszolgaltato’s “deep concern” over the “everyday political intervention” against Poland’s independent public media.

They noted that the Central and Eastern European group of the EBU — which includes both Poland’s and Hungary’s public media among its members — marked its 30th anniversary last year, but this was “overshadowed” by the current situation.

The public media leaders said they trusted that joint efforts would steer the actions of the Polish government in connection with the public media within an appropriate constitutional and democratic framework.

They said the procedure to shut down Polish public media had put it in an uncertain situation and was also harmful to Polish society.

Given the legal irregularities found by Poland’s constitutional court, they said the Hungarian public media was asking the EBU to put the case of the Polish public media on its agenda and express its objection to the treatment of the public media if it finds that the Polish government’s actions go against the EBU’s norms.

They said Hungarian public media respected the decisions of Poland’s legally-elected government, but warned decision-makers against structural and personnel changes that lack democratic debate and consultations with all stakeholders.

They stressed that the process of appointing public media leaders was key to ensuring that the public media is able to operate independently. They also asked the EBU’s leaders to use all the tools at the organisation’s disposal to take steps in the interest of the Polish public media’s independence.

Papp and Altorjai said this was important because the members of the EBU have approved a common creed of fulfilling their responsibilities of educating, informing and entertaining the public under the principles of universality, independence, excellence, diversity, accountability and innovation.

They also asked the leaders of the EBU to draw the attention of its members to the possibility and importance of taking a joint stand and expressing their disagreement in connection with the attack on the independence of the Polish — and thereby European — public media, and condemning the “open political intervention” in the independence of the Polish public media.

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