Broadcasting Council says Polish media will run out of funds

Written by Katarzyna Grynienko

An amendment to the Polish licence fee bill will significantly redyce income from the fees, the main source of funding for Poland's public media.

The amendment expands the number of citizens who are not obligated to pay the fees. Apart from Poles over 75 and handicapped people, the fees will not be obligatory to pensioners over 60 with a pension under 50% of the avarage Polish salary, permanently incapable to work, unemployed, or on welfare.

According to the National Broadcasting Chamber's (KRRiTV, www.krritv.gov.pl) this year Polish Television (TVP, www.tvp.pl) and Polish Radio (www.polskieradio.pl) will receive 330-360 million PLN from the licence fees. In 2007 this income was 970 million PLN. In 2010 Polish Radio will receive 100-130 million PLN of the licence fees and the rest will go to TVP. According to KRRiTV these amounts are not sufficient to cover the public broadcasters budget need for execution the public media mission.

The new version of the bill went into force on March 1. Witold Kołodziejski, The President of the KRRiTV predicts that it will cause a significant drop in an already decreasing income from the licence fees. "The new rules are dangerous to the public media. If we want to reform Polish Radio and Polish Television we have to be careful now, so in two years, when the results kick in, we will at least have something to further heal and reform," Kołodziejski cautions.