Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If this Kind of thing is the First Draft of History, I Pity them

This weekend whilst leafing through the news, I found myself looking for written evidence of something I had heard from an international broadcaster which seemed to me like a stunning breakthrough for the slow-moving world of media in Europe. The Polish will actually be privatizing their state-run media. Period. End of story.

The largest communications conduit in their language can no longer ever be commandeered by an elected official. It’s a stunning development for an environment like the EU, and exhibits a shockingly high level of trust that a society can have for its’ population by European standards. I’m quite sure Natalie and Co. are over the moon about it too.

However, as of Sunday, there was little to be found about it from the big news agencies, with one rather schizophrenic report where it is buried in an item about a politician who once associated himself with people who turned out to be garden-variety European neo-fascists.

Adding to the confusion, members of TVP's own supervisory board turned against Farfal last week, suspending him and replacing him with a former deputy. But the government, though keen to oust Farfal, branded that move technically invalid.

Grad accused Farfal and what he called TVP's "highly politicised" supervisory board of wasting public money.

"The situation (at TVP) is bad but the easiest way to resolve it is for President Kaczynski to sign the new media bill now waiting on his desk," said Grad.

Apart from making it easier to remove Farfal from his post, the new bill would cut back state funding for public media, scrap Poland's national television and radio licence fee and prepare TVP for digitalisation.
With an amazing lack of self awareness the report even made a point of telling us that the two stories were not related, a mere few paragraphs after defaming privatization through association – a strange thing for an international, non-state media racket like Reuters to report.

It’s really strange, actually, to see how some reporters’ minds operate in the vacuum like that. The ideological position held by the inverse of the target of this story is precisely the one normally all about the defending of a potent state media with as little editorial and information gathering competition as possible.
Grad accused Farfal and what he called TVP's "highly politicised" supervisory board of wasting public money.
- something that has never seemed to bother the European left for a moment, so long as it operated in the narrowing of the public realm around the socialist world view, but here we see an interesting development: a nation where the dominant parties in political society in agreement about the role of freedom of speech and the state.

Once you scrape away the statements and the window dressing that comes out of every other state-related media source in Europe, the move by the Poles is as radical as it gets. Compared to the government reigned-in oligarchs that operate Russia’s supposed “independent” media, it simply stunning.

So the question remains why something that big could be fumbling around with so little relevance in some writers’ head, that IT isn’t the lead item or a story of its’ own.

Think about it – the French and the British – two of the societies with a past history of the proponency of freedom of expression, and both with no shortage of understanding of the burden and suspicion that a state-run media can burden a society with STILL have state run media establishments, but Poland is simply disposing of theirs for precisely the right reasons.
But the story gets bound up with a near press-release style political folly. Is it ignorance? An inability to place the meaning of it in any sort of perspective? One can only speculate.

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