By Edmund Lewandowski
Major change on the Polish media scene
For those of us who speak Polish there is an exciting and a tremendous change happening (Summer 2013) in Poland's media scene. In a varying degree, for many years the mainstream media consisted of outlets connected to the former communist establishment. Some started out during the end of the communist years as part of the "opposition to communism" and with the passing of time we have learned that "that opposition" is complying with the present government of the Civic Platform party to help them to achieve their goals of overlooking the faults of the past and current regimes.
The new TV Channel REPUBLIKA (www.tvrepublika.pl) was created by Wildstein, Sakiewicz, Gmyz, Gargas, Ziemkiewicz and other writers connected to “independent journalism” since the "Polish transformation from communism in 1989" because of the need to discuss present new discoveries. There were other attempts to create an alternative TV channel to the mainstream media but they were limited to Internet and initiatives of very small groups or single individuals.
REPUBLIKA TV will be considered a part of the mainstream media because of the large number of people involved. Its agenda differs from the vast majority of mainstream outlets, which fail to question the official versions of many "distasteful" developments in Poland, which journalists shy away from for fear of facing unforeseen consequences of expulsion.
REPUBLIKA TV journalists are straightforward in their quest to learn the truth of current day news as well as topics of the 1989 transformation era and people who benefited from the 1989 systemic changes.
I observed the long process of how TV REPUBLIKA came about. For the last several years I attended meetings of the "Klub Ronina" (named after masterless samurai warrior) every time I visited Poland since the Summer of 2007. Because of my being the editor of the Polish American web site www.PoloniaSF.org I was accepted to be part of the audience. I also met few of those journalists, I mentioned above, quite few times, privately, while I was trying to get them interested in suspicious activities of the former communist apparatchiks residing now in California. They did not write about that yet, I guess, those journalists have a lot on their plate in Poland. Stanislaw Michalkiewicz told me about Klub Ronina's weekly meetings. I learned there about current political affairs in Poland and engaged in private conversations in order to validate my understanding of the presentations.
Many things developed in Poland's political arena since I left in 1984 (the internet hadn't started). The meetings at "Klub Ronina" helped me understand how Polish politics evolved in those years. There I met Jan Pietrzak, Slawomir Cenckiewicz, Grzegorz Braun, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, and most of the people involved with the new TV channel REPUBLIKA.
I was impressed with the unbiased opinions I have heard ... criticism towards the Civic Platform as well as the Law and Justice party. I was stunned with a view presented when the crisis about the cross at the Presidential Palace started to develop. I heard a prediction of how people in power are going to use provocations to be reported in the main stream media. One of the Klub Ronina members spoke of what would happen. I was amazed with the accuracy of the prediction of how the current Civic Platform government is going to use the "fight for the cross" for their benefit.
The news that this group of people is going to give birth to a new independent TV channel has been very uplifting.
I have recently encountered strong opinions that TV REPUBLIKA might have some hidden agenda. After knowing these people for about six years I honestly think that they will allow many people to express their opinions and they will be representative of the majority. I see it happening already. They replied publicly, with full explanation, to allegations of getting a free ride from the former communists. I like that approach very much! They are heavily advertising their support for TV Trwam. In my opinion there is no hidden agenda and TV REPUBLIKA wants the rules of democracy to rule Poland.
The new TV channel REPUBLIKA is led by Bronislaw Wildstein, who used to work at the state owned TVP for many years and they could not tolerate him anymore. He has been the Editor in Chief for one year. This is the same man who is credited with being a whistle blower on the catalog of files containing the former communist secret police files. The co-leader of TV REPUBLIKA is Tomasz Sakiewicz who is responsible for keeping alive the independent view of Polish politics for the last 20 years. The business leader of the new TV REPUBLIKA is Piotr Barelkowski. I have no personal knowledge about him, but knowing Wildstein and Sakiewicz for six years, and having the experience of their reasonable and calm examination of facts, I am optimistic of the bright future of the TV REPUBLIKA.
Despite the questions concerning the funding, the connections, selection of guests, sympathies, accepting former communists as guests, TV REPUBLIKA has a great chance to be the Voice of the Polish People!!!