Public media is failing to fulfill their tasks envisaged for the presidential campaign, giving much more airtime to one of the candidates – Andrzej Duda – believes Adam Bodnar, Commissioner for Human Rights of Poland. He has sent two complaints regarding this matter to the head of TVP, a public Polish broadcaster, and the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT).
A statement posted on the Ombudsman’s website states that public media has many additional obligations arising from the specifics of their actions. These obligations become even more important during the election campaign. “The current practice of TVP and Polish Radio in this matter raises concerns for citizens and the Ombudsman,” warns Bodnar.
Since Poland’s governing right-wing nationalist and populist Law and Justice (PiS) party took the reins of the Polish parliament after general elections in 2015, it has turned the state-managed media into its mouthpiece. Duda, a PiS ally, is seeking reelection in 2020.
Bodnar has referred to an article of the Electoral Code, according to which TVP is obliged to conduct debates between representatives of those election committees that have registered their lists of candidates in all constituencies.
Bodnar has indicated that, according to the data published in the Public Information Bulletin of TVP, in February, the greatest amount of airtime on TVP was devoted to the election committee of Duda (almost an hour and 15 minutes), while the airtime allocated to the other presidential hopefuls was:
Krzysztof Bosak: 19 min 47 seconds
Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska: 30 min 33 seconds
Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz: 15 min 22 seconds
Szymon Hołownia: 5 min 37 seconds
Robert Biedroń: 44 seconds
The president’s office has additional airtime owing to its duties.