Polish film professionals fight for the public media

By Katarzyna Grynienko
    Polish film and TV professional are banding together to introduce changes in the Polish media sphere with a Citizen Media Bill.

    On November 18, representatives of the Polish Filmmakers Association (www.sfp.org.pl), the Polish Writers Association, the Chamber of Audiovisual Producers, the Union of Polish Stage Artists and the Polish Composers Association introduced their "Free the media" initiative to bring changes to Polish public media. On December 10, a Legislative Initiative Committee will start the process of introducing a citizen bill to the government: collecting signatures having the bill put on the govenrment's agenda.

    Polish film professionals decided to take matters into their own hands because of a lack of resolution on a media bill during two changes in government.

    "The Citizen Media Bill was created to free the public media from political influences that only hurt them, and to prevent their liquidation or commercialization. In our opinion, the public media are the property of the citizens and don't belong to any political party. We should ensure that they will exist and function in service of the whole society," Jacek Bromski, the SFP's Chairman said at a press conference.

    The Citizen Media Bill is focused on four points: ensuring the media is a social instrument; freeing the media from political control; localize content and support local media; and ensuring public media income is independent of commercial concerns.

    The bill also addresses the controversial issue of cancellation of the media license fee, which public opinion says was misspent to produce programs of low quality. The Citizen Media Bill proposes a smaller Common Audiovisual Fee that will be used to support the Public Mission Program Fund, an institution that would work on conditions similar to the Polish Film Institute (PISF) in order to help broadcasters develop quality programs.

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