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Poland's new government deprograms its once far-right public media

https:// www.npr.org /2024/02/19/1230673951/poland-new-government-polish-news-media

WARSAW, Poland — It's 7:30 in the evening in Warsaw, and public news broadcaster TVP Info is about to broadcast live to millions of viewers across Poland. Producers in a crowded control room scurry in and out, sometimes stopping to peer through a narrow window into a studio where the host reads from a teleprompter.

Everyone looks a little nervous, for at least two reasons: Nearly all of them are new hires, and this is a temporary studio while the police clear the station's downtown Warsaw headquarters of the last remnants of the old government.

"The former leadership are refusing to give up our headquarters and up until recently were refusing to leave the building, so we're here in this old sports newsroom on the edge of town," says TVP Info director Pawel Pluska, who has been on the job for less than a month.

"We're lacking desks, computers, and we're having problems sending and receiving transmissions, but we're figuring it out," he says with a shrug.

After eight years of government under the far-right nationalist Law and Justice party, Polish voters turned up in record numbers in a historic October election that heralded a new, liberal government under the leadership of Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

After being sworn-in in December, Tusk's new government immediately moved to retake the state-funded TVP. Under Law and Justice, the broadcaster had been transformed into a far-right propaganda machine, jeopardizing European Union funding to the country for violating the EU's democracy standards.

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