The penalty imposed by the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council, Maciej Świrski, on Radio Zet for information that the Ukrainian president’s passage through Poland took place without the knowledge of the Polish authorities was justified by its “contradiction with the law, Polish raison d’état and social good”, as provided for in Art. 18.1 of the Broadcasting Act. The broadcaster will appeal this decision to the court.
The chairman did not show what law the journalist had violated with this information. Thus, “raison d’état and social good” remain. Previous KRRiT benches did not use these expressions of Article 18.1 as the basis for their decisions, because accusations of their violations were difficult to sustain in court.
What is the Polish raison d’état? And what is a social good? Does providing information about the passage of the President of Ukraine through Poland violate these values? Chairman Świrski believes that yes, the court may be of the opposite opinion, but we will find out about it in a few years. Until then, there will be a threat of decisions by the head of the National Broadcasting Council, which may become the basis for not renewing the media’s license.
The punishment for Radio Zet signals that chairman Świrski can punish anything, even for the forecast of bad weather for the harvest, if in his opinion it will harm the social good or raison d’état. This is how the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council understands “guarding the freedom of speech, the right to information and the public interest in radio and television”, which the Constitution requires him to do.
Warsaw, August 19, 2023