TVP Info report on the European Parliament debate

TVP Info report on the European Parliament debate on the Rule of Law in Poland
in Strasbourg, 19 October 2021
(TVP Info is Poland’s public service television’s 24 hours news channel)

This account was prepared by the Towarzystwo Dziennikarskie – The Society of Journalists

The broadcast started with a live transmission (without any cuts or commentary) of the opening speech by Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s Prime Minister and Ursula von der Leyen, the President
of the European Commission.

At 10.33 the live transmission ended and the channel turned to its commentators who spoke for two and a half hours (as the debate continued in the EP). The commentators were journalists from „Gazeta Polska”, „Sieci” and from TVP. They all agreed in their praise of Prime Minister Morawiecki and uniformly criticised the „leftist” majority in the EP. They attacked the President of the Commission as well as MEPs from Holland and Germany. The comments were emotional,  manipulative and mendacious. MEPs from the extreme right, eurosceptics and conservatives were presented as representatives of the countries they came from France, Italy, Spain and Slovakia. Reports by the Dominika Cosic, the TVP correspondent in Strasbourg, were commentaries rather than accounts of what was actually being said in the chamber. The broadcast failed to run any opinions which balanced the views represented above.

During these two and half hours TVP Info ran speeches by Law and Justice deputies in the EP and by Polish opposition deputies, in full. However, the latter speeches were immediately countered by the journalists in the studio. Fragments of the Morawiecki speech as well as by Richard Legutko (ECR) and Nicolas Bay (a French National Front associate) were repeated.

10:33 – commentary by Adrian Stankowski (Gazeta Polska Codziennie, Telewizja Republika, Polskie Radio 24) – which praised Morawiecki’s speech; he noted that the UE is attacking Poland but has no real arguments.

10: 36 – an item on Polish President Andrzej Duda’s visit to Vilnius, shots of the national anthems and military parade.

10:40 – further commentary by Adrian Stankowski: the crisis in the UE is Germany’s fault because they backed the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline across Baltic and promote climate policy. France supports Poland and the Polish government. Stankowski mentions the „ideology of a European super state”. The Polish government has a democratic mandate , European bureaucrats do not.

10:49 – fragments of Morawiecki’s speech are re-broadcast

10:53 – Ursula von der Leyen’s speech is one-sidedly reported and followed by a critical commentary from Adrian Stankowski.

10:54 – runs a speech by an anonymous MEP who supports the Polish government and who maintains that only a few MEPs wanted this debate.

10:57 – a commentary by Dominika Cosic, a TVP correspondent in Brussels. According to her, there will be nothing new in this debate. The same MEPs as ever will attack the Polish government because they need the publicity. The debate will be hot, controversial and easily foreseeable. The only information she shares is that the debate will last four hours and she reveals what Morawiecki will be doing afterwards. 

11:03 – a repeat of the same  fragment of Prime Minister Morawiecki’s speech which were broadcast at 10.49 . Here Morawiecki talks of tax havens inside the EU which are tolerated by the Commission, about the fact that Poland did not join the EU as a poor relation and that the richer countries exploit the poorer ones in the EU.

11:07 – a speech which supports the Polish government in its „battle to defend its sovereignty which all europeans yearn for”.  Robert Roos (ECR) says that the Tribunal in Luxembourg breaks the law and that the Polish court in its verdict did no more than its German counterpart. „This was an undemocratic attack on democratic Poland”.

11:11 – a commentary by Jacek Karnowski („Sieci”, which praises the Prime Minister’s speech. According to Karnowski the EU has an ideology which is based on humiliating the weaker member states. He notes calls for Poland to capitulate in the debate and he complains that the debate chair tried to curtail Morawiecki’s speaking time. He says that this is a parody of a Parliament adding that Ursula von der Leyen’s speech was aggressive, that the EU is a super state which is flawed in the way it is governed.  On the other hand Poland is a country of courageous people which as in September 1939 must be the first to fight against force in the interest of the European continent. The EP is a zoo of strange beings which criticises Poland while the German political machine governs the EU and is seeking to break Poland. Manfred Weber from the EPP is a German who talks nonsense and acts in Putin’s interest.

11:20 – the speech by Patrick Jaki, an ECR MEP from Poland.

11:27 – a repeat of the Morawiecki speech – the same as at 11.03  and 10.49.

11:29 – a report by Dominika Cosic, the TVP correspondent in Strasbourg. The same as at 10.57.

11.33 – an anonimous MEP who supports the governments of Poland and Hungary which „defend their nations”.

11:37 – a repeat of the speech by  Nicolas Bay, an MEP and French National Front ally.

11:38 – an MEP from Slovakia: „Whatever the governments of Poland and Hungary do is criticised”.

11:39 – a repeat of a fragment of the speech by Ryszard Legutko, an MEP and head of the ECR.

11:41 – A commentary by Tomasza Sakiewicz (Gazeta Polska, Gazeta Polska Codziennie). „the EU has dropped any desire for dialogue and is not interested in the truth”. As proof of this argument he recalls  the chair of the EP’s attempt to curtail Morawiecki’s speech. He is indignant that the EP is said in the debate to represent Poles as „Poles are represented by the Polish government”.  „Poles did not die so that someone can tell us how we are to live”. „The Dutch are stealing from the rest of Europe” he adds. „The Germans are exploiting other countries, it is a neo colonial system”. „Parts of the EU are rebelling, France and Italy do not want others to take decisions for them”. „the Germans have forgotten the tragedies that they are responsible for”.  „All of France apart from the present President supports Poland”. „Great Britain was pushed out of the EU”. „Governments will be toppled and the countries will leave the EU”.„They want to push Poland out or destroy our democracy so we won’t be able to decide about anything”. „ Holland is a money launderer”. He says that  the EU: „ will give us only as much money as they can steal back from us. They want to treat us like a colony”. „ The EU  gives succour to former secret policemen and thieves„.

11:51 –  a repeat of a fragment of Morawiecki’s speech. The same as at 11.03. 10.49 and 11.27.

11:54 – a speech by an MEP who supports the Polish government and who accuses the EU of breaking the law.

11:56 – further comment by Tomasz Sakiewicz about Morawiecki’s „historic speech” and that the UE has lost its ability to listen and to conduct a dialogue”. „We are defending the UE as it is defined in the treaties”.

11:59 – a repeat of the speech by Patrick Jaki MEP (already broadcast at 11.20)

12:01 – a repeat of fragments of Morawiecki’s speech already broadcast at 11.03, 10,49, 11.27, and 11.51.

12:04 – a commentary Miłosz Manasterski (Agencja Informacyjna, a frequent commentator on TVP news): „in his speech the Prime Minister opened the European conservatives’ election campaign”. It was a „historic speech” „the Prime Minister was not obliged to appear before the EP”. He said that the opponents of the Polish government delivered baseless lies, the debate amounted to a political circus and a „open air market brawl”.

12:10 – a repeat of fragments of Nicolas Bay’s speech as well as of other MEPs who support the Polish government.

12:14 – Miłosz Manasterski: when it comes down to it the EU is seeking to topple the Polish government „Holland is a tax haven, The Dutch are against Poland because the Polish premier keeps on reminding them of this”. He says of Leszek Miller and Robert Biedron, both S&D MEPs, that: they are disloyal because they speak ill of the Polish government and the Polish president. „The opposition is responsible for the fact that Poland has a poor image abroad, they want to take power over Poland’s dead body and that CNN is intellectually indolent”

12:21 –  another speech by an MEP against the Polish government

12:22 – Miłosz Manasterski comments: this debate lowers the EP’s prestige. „the EP is in a state of anarchy”, its voice does not count it is the heads of government who count and the Polish prime minister wants to change Europe.

The programme anchor: this an all out attack on Poland in the EP but „Morawiecki has a lot of influence and can change attitudes towards Poland among European leaders”.

Miłosz Manasterski: should the EP be organised as it is now? (the suggestion is that it should be cut down in size) The EU is getting weaker but instead of dealing with the energy crisis the EP  is discussing the fate of a bunch of Polish judges, who are judicial caste. „The EU is pushing us back to before 1989 to the time of censorship and submission”.

„Poland is defending UE frontiers and the UE is sinking a knife into Warsaw’s back”. „Poland is Europe’s  first line of defence. We are defending Europe against people who are weaponized by Lukashenko.” Frontex praises us but isn’t willing to help us. The Prime Minister should be given flowers by European politicians. „The people who run the EU are no good at anything – a case in point are the delays in getting SARS COV2 vaccine to Poland. We are not allowed to do the things the Germans are allowed to do. Is this a European equal partnership?”

12:32 –  fragments of speeches by Leszek Miller and Radoslaw Sikorski (EPP). Miłosz Manasterski comments: We do not know how much money Radoslaw Sikorski was paid for his advice. Miller is a communist who is used to being deferential. Once he had Moscow now he has Brussels. „Miller is training Poles to be deferential”. „Don’t we have the right to feel that we are occupied by Brussels. Our elections no longer count.” The 21st century will belong to Poland and Turkey. Europe is a despotic power which occupies Poland. We have to stop them here or we will lose our independence. The UE is seeking to introduce chaos into our judicial system.

12:47 – a repeat of MEP speeches which support the Polish government.

12:50 –  Dominika Cosic reports on how MEPs are changing their minds on Poland under the influence of Morawiecki’s speech.

12:52 – a repeat of Tomasz Sakiewicz’s earlier comments on how Poland is losing its freedom. On money laundering in Germany and Holland as well as how we must stop Poland being robbed.

12:55 – commentary by Andrzej Potocki („Sieci”): The EU is a quasi-totalitarian state. „if we lose this fight then we will lose our independence and our economy will be weakened” „we mustn’t allow ourselves to be dominated”. Radosław Sikorski represents „a fifth column who is undermining our independence”. Prime minister Morawiecki has taken „the first step of a counter attack” The anchor adds that „ the eurocrats have struck a deal with the Russians”.

13:02 – an MEP from Croatia who supports the Polish government.

13:05 – commentary by Andrzej Potocki about how servile the left and mentions Morawiecki’s fight for freedom and sovereignty.

13:09 – full broadcasts of closing speeches by: Mateusz Morawiecki, Ursula von der Leyen, Beata Szydło, Paolo Borchia, and an anonymous MEP.

13:38 – the end of the transmission.

While the programme outlined above was being broadcast, TVN24, a commercial TV channel owned by Discovery, transmitted the entire debate on Poland in the EP, live and without any comments.  

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