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    Polish Public Television Retreats from Its Promise of Unbiased Reporting

    Polish Television (TVP) appears to have backtracked on its pledge to offer its viewers “pure water” – a metaphor for unbiased and straightforward news coverage. The promise, initially made by Marek Czyż, the new face of the “19:30” news program, seems to have encountered challenges in its implementation.

    On December 20th, following a change in TVP’s management, Marek Czyż introduced himself to the TVP1 audience at 7:30 PM, promising a shift towards more reliable, professional, and honest reporting. “No Polish citizen, who funds public media, should be subjected to propaganda of any kind. Every citizen has the right to demand truthful and fair information from public media,” Czyż stated. He vowed that the news would start presenting “the photographs of the world and the day” instead of a narrative that had been painted in the studio for the past eight years with carefully selected colors. “Instead of a propagandist soup, we want to offer you pure water. Not because it is noble, but because it carries no intrusive flavors,” he added.

    However, a recent investigation by the association Demagog paints a less optimistic picture regarding the fulfillment of this promise. The report criticizes the “19:30” news service for its editorial choices, notably the absence of information that would cast the government of Donald Tusk in a negative light. It also highlighted the lack of reporting on significant issues, such as the petition to dismiss the Minister of Justice, Adam Bodnar, and the failure to cover demonstrations outside prisons holding MPs Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik. Furthermore, the report accuses the program of excessive criticism of President Andrzej Duda while ignoring stories unfavorable to Tusk’s government, including the abolition of homework and the incident involving Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz who did not stand for the national anthem.

    In an interview with the Wprost portal, Marek Czyż reflected on his initial address to the audience and the backlash it received. He acknowledged that his message of “pure water” might have been misunderstood or interpreted differently by various individuals. “First and foremost, I never said that we would introduce ‘pure water,’ only that we would like to propose it. But I don’t want to make excuses, as it would sound wrong,” Czyż admitted.

    This development raises questions about the challenges public media faces in maintaining impartiality and the impact of management changes on editorial policies.

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