Libertas, the pan-European party founded by controversial Irish millionaire Declan Ganley, appears to be wiping its election rivals from public TV stations, new air-time results show. EURACTIV Poland reports.
Despite Libertas scoring poorly in public opinion surveys ahead of the EU elections, the party seems to be gaining ground on television shows and news programmes.
According to comparative figures compiled by Poland’s TV programming board and cited last week by the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, the new pan-European party came in third position for political air time.
While the two biggest parties, PiS (Law and Justice) and PO (Civic Platform) were shown eight and nine times respectively on public channel TVP1 between 4-10 May, Libertas was reported about seven times.
On TVP2, Libertas had the most broadcasting time with six minutes 55 seconds, 25 seconds more air time than the ruling PO and two minutes and five seconds more than the largest opposition party, PiS.
These figures appear to support accusations by the two leading Polish newspapers, Gazeta Wyborcza and Dziennik, that the chair of Polish public television service TVP, Piotr Farfa? – who has links with the League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin, LPR) – wants to promote Libertas.
According to Gazeta, TVP editor-in-chief Jan Pi?ski is doing his best to ensure balanced coverage and give viewers the opprtunity to enjoy accurate reporting on all the politicians running for election.
In response to Dziennik and Gazeta Wyborcza‘s accusations, Pi?ski made the following statement: “Suggestions by competitors that TVP is giving visibility only to the two most important political parties is an inadmissible form of pressure which has no place in the democratic system”. Farfa? stressed, meanwhile, that TVP intended to present all ten registered parties during the electoral campaign.
In protest against discriminating programmes in public television, centre-left party ‘CentroLewica: Porozumienie dla Przysz?o?ci’ (Pact for the Future) sent an official letter to Farfa?.
Arkadiusz Kasznia, head of CentroLewica’s election campaign, complained about the lack of equal access to air time on public broadcast channels. Citing an election show as an example, he underlined that only representatives of the leading parties and Libertas were invited to speak. Kasznia stressed that unlike CentroLewica, Libertas had no representatives in the Polish parliament, but had become an “important player in the television shows”.
Piotr Farfa? was named TVP chairman at the end of the last year on the recommendation of Samoobrona and LPR. Farfa? replaced Andrzej Urba?ski, who was criticised for favoring PiS representatives.