Support for the „Media bez wyboru” („Media without Choice”) protest!

Today, the media from across Poland organized a protest entitled „Media Without Choice” (polish: „Media bez wyboru”). This means that on February 10, throughout Wednesday are paralyzed the most popular websites, nationwide TV and radio stations as well as dailies and publications of many publishing houses. To blame for everything is the parliamentary bill on the introduction of a tax on advertising, which will affect media companies independent of the Polish government. I, as a person active in the media’s area, the author of this website, and a journalist by profession, cannot do otherwise – I SUPPORT THE „MEDIA BEZ WYBORU” („MEDIA WITHOUT CHOICE”) STRIKE! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021. This day will be remembered for a long time, by Poles, who, as always, have turned on TVs, radio or popular websites, with the conviction that they will start a new day by watching their favorite program/series, listening to the broadcast or reading the latest news. Unfortunately, instead their eyes (in the case of television stations and websites and publishing houses) and their ears (in the case of radio) appeared with a message informing about the  “MEDIA WITHOUT CHOICE” protest. This means, that you won’t be able to read any new articles, watch your favorite TV shows, movies and series or hear radio and music all day long.

To blame for everything is the parliamentary bill on the introduction of the tax on advertising, which will affect media companies independent of the Polish government. The new tax will be charged for:

– TV and radio broadcasters, cinema operators and outdoor advertising carriers, if in a calendar year they exceed PLN 1 million in advertising revenues,

-press publishers if they advertising revenues exceed PLN 15 million in a calendar year.

– entities operating on the Internet, which in last year recorded over EUR 750 million in revenues (worldwide), and in Poland – over EUR 5 million in revenues from online advertising.

The government intends to allocate the funds raised in this way to the National Health Fund, the National Monument Protection Fund and the emerging media support fund.

In the strike against the introduction of the tax on advertising are taking part the most popular media companies operating in Poland: Agencja Wydawnicza AGARD Ryszard Pajura, Agora S.A., AMS S.A., Bonnier Business, Burda Media Polska, Canal+, Dziennik Trybuna, Dziennik Wschodni, Edipresse Polska, Eleven Sports Network sp. z o.o., Gazeta Radomszczańska, Green Content Sp. z o.o., Gremi Media S.A., Grupa Eurozet, Grupa Interia.pl sp. z. o.o., Grupa Radiowa Agory Sp. z o.o., Grupa RMF, Grupa ZPR, Helios S.A., Infor Biznes, Kino Polska TV S.A., Lemon Records sp. z o.o., Marshal Academy, Music TV sp. z o.o., Muzo.fm sp. z o.o., naTemat.pl, OKO.press, Polityka, Polska Press Grupa, Ringier Axel Springer Polska, STAVKA Sp. z o.o., Superstacja sp. z o.o., Telewizja Polsat sp. z o.o., Telewizja Puls Sp. z o.o., TIME S.A.TV, Spektrum sp. z o.o., TVN S.A., Tygodnik Powiatu Wołowskiego Kurier Gmin, Tygodnik Powszechny, Wirtualna Polska, Wydawnictwo Bauer, Wydawnictwo Dominika Księskiego Wulkan, Wydawnictwo Magraf, Wydawnictwo Nowiny i Zakopiańskie Towarzystwo Gospodarcze -Tygodnik Podhalański. Their representatives jointly wrote an open letter to the Polish authorities.

As warn the signatories of the letter of the media to the authorities of the Republic of Poland, the new tax will hit viewers, listeners, readers and internet users, as well as Polish productions, culture, entertainment, sport and the media. As notes the founder of one of the political parties, who for years was a journalist and TV presenter himself, advertising revenues support editorial offices, newsrooms, TV crews, salaries are paid to investigative journalists and publicists, and the introduction of an advertising tax may make the media there is not enough money for it. This will significantly weaken some of the media operating in Poland, and even contribute to their liquidation! This, in turn, will significantly limit the recipient’s ability to choose the content that interests him, and consequently prevent the use of media and other sources of information.

I, as a person moving in the field of media, author of the Imperium Miss – Empire of Miss and Imperium Telenowel – Empire of Telenovelas websites, and above all a graduate of journalism, and therefore a journalist by education, I cannot do otherwise – I support with full awareness the „MEDIA BEZ WYBORU” („MEDIA WITHOUT CHOICE” STRIKE”). I do this despite the fact that on my sites are no advertisements, I do not earn money for running my sites and I cover all the costs associated with running them, but by supporting the strike I express my solidarity with independent media companies.

I would also like to draw the attention of my readers to the fact, that the public media, ie Polskie Radio (Polish Radio) and Telewizja Polska (Polish Television), which apparently are not afraid of the new tax, do not take part in the „Media bez wyboru” („Media without choice”) protest. And it’s probably not surprising, considering the fact, that they are supported by taxpayers’ money, and in addition, the government gives them multi-million grants in thanks for running a free election campaign and uncritical praise of the ruling party. And yet this money, so lightly spent by the government, could add to the account of the National Health Fund, the National Monument Protection Fund, the emerging cultural support fund in the area of the media, or at least be allocated to the actual fight against the pandemic …

Lovely! Today, we have the opportunity to pause for a moment, look at the paralyzed media and realize, what Poland will look like, when we are deprived of the choice and diversity we are used to. It is only up to us to let the present government take away our access to free and independent media. Let us not allow, under the pretext of new taxes, to limit our freedom of access to television and radio stations, websites and information services, newspapers and publications which we want to watch/ listen/ read. Let’s not allow ourselves to be deprived of our access to independent media, which are not paid for by government and not uncritically subject to Polish authorities! Unlike the public media…

Finally, I will a fragment of quote, which I found on the website of one of the radio stations:

„The role of the media is not to deal with the effects of a pandemic – it is the role of the government. Our role is to provide reliable information to our Citizens. There is no free country without independent media. There is no freedom without the freedom of choice. That is why we are fighting for the multiplicity and diversity of media in Poland.”

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