TVN, US-owned channel in Poland, censors minister’s press conference

FILE- In this file photo taken Sept. 12, 2017, satellite dishes sit on top of the headquarters of the private TVN broadcaster in Warsaw, Poland is owned by the U.S. Scripps Networks Interactive. Poland's state regulator imposed a heavy fine on TVN alleging it was unfair for its coverage of 2016 anti-government protests. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The scene was well set. During a press conference held by Poland’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro, Discovery-owned TVN was ready to pounce, copying what had been done to President Trump by CNN.

On Tuesday, the European Commission disclosed that it is petitioning the European Court of Justice to fine Poland for violating an injunction with regard to the functioning of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court. Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro held a press conference in reaction to the commission’s decision, however, the live transmission from the press conference was cut short by news channel TVN24.

The anchor explained the decision by saying that the minister had argued that the situation with regard to the organization of the judiciary in Poland was similar to that of Germany, and that this argument was false. The channel continued to broadcast clips from the commission’s press conference, along with the opinions of an expert, before returning to the minister’s press conference in time for questions from journalists.

TVN is in the middle of an advertising promotion campaign using the slogan “Your right to know”. It seems they forgot to add “…what we agree with”. They have now actively decided to censor politicians.

Responding to criticism of their action, the station defended itself on the basis of editorial control and that this had nothing to do with censorship, which only can take place if a government chooses to interfere in the work of a free media, or so they claim.

No one questions their right to comment. The issue is the right for a politician to express him or herself as they wish to. They had a right to cover or not to cover the press conference. But once they chose to cover, they had no right to attempt to control the contents of that conference, as what they decided to do by cutting away was censor content.

The concept of censorship is not limited to state interference. Censorship can be carried out by large corporations, too. TVN behaved much like a Chinese media company, which are known to always cut away from criticism of communism when covering events in the West.

TVN is a powerful media outlet. It is no victim, but rather the aggressor denying information to Poles. Politicians and other media have every right to question that kind of behavior. But it may be for the best that they took this drastic step. It exposes the vision of what the liberal opposition wants to do with the country and how, instead of the right to know, we could be on the road to a country where we are subjected to crude censorship with impunity.

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