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This is what the first edition of “Wiadomości” looked like after the fall of communism.  Symbolic white wall

This is what the first edition of “Wiadomości” looked like after the fall of communism. Symbolic white wall

The first edition of “Wiadomości” after the fall of communism lasted only ten minutes. It started with one of the most important topics, which the previous authorities avoided like the plague.

A new evening daily – “” – replaced in November 1989 “Dziennik Telewizyjny” – a symbol of the propaganda of the Polish People’s Republic. The first broadcast was short, lasting only ten minutes. At that time, editor Wojciech Reszczyński asked viewers for support and suggestions on what “Wiadomości” should look like in the future. A series of information from Poland was also shown.

The editors had only 24 hours to create and record the program. It was not decided to use “Wiadomości” live – it was not known whether the technical equipment would fail. From that day, November 18, 1989, “Wiadomości” was published every day, under successive governments, until December 20, 2023. What was included in its first edition?

The first “Wiadomości” in 1989 started from scratch

The recording of the first “News” can be watched on YouTube. Wojciech Reszczyński, sitting in front of a symbolic white wall, began it as follows:

November 18, Saturday, “Wiadomości”. Good evening. I hope that this program will gain your trust day by day. The news in our new daily will be good or bad, hopefully as little of the latter as possible, but always true. We are counting on help and cooperation, he said.

The first material in the free media was information about the progress of work on explaining the Katyn crime. Viewers could hear directly spoken words about “silence 47 years ago” and that the position of the Soviet commission is DIFFERENT from the position of the Polish commission. There were also Wajda’s words about Katyn as a political problem, not just a historical one.

Ryszard Bugaj talked about the mistake of closing the Lenin Shipyard – i.e. the Gdańsk Shipyard – in the past. Interestingly, today’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk, then chairman of the Liberal Congress, was also present. He talks about the need for transformation in Poland and the upcoming economic liberalism. The upcoming US investments in our country and Lech Wałęsa’s meeting with representatives of Jewish organizations were mentioned. Information from around the world is supplemented with news from our closest region – Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the GDR. And that was the end.

As one of the reporters working on them recalled this and subsequent issues of “Wiadomości”, it was “a mess, nothing was ready on time”, but there was no censorship team in the editorial office anymore, which could interfere with any material.

The expectations were huge. Everything was to change in an instant: instead of “Dziennik Telewizyjny”, viewers were to receive a product that would be professional and independent. It quickly turned out that there was something wrong with this independence and in order for the band to defend itself against the attempts of politicians, a special column was created in which there were accusations made by politicians against the broadcast materials – said Piotr Górecki, editor with Jolanta Łopuszyńska, in an interview with “Press”. first edition of “Wiadomości” in 1989.

“Wiadomości” was slowly moving away from objectivity

Despite the editorial team’s defense mechanisms against the influence of politicians on the content presented in “Wiadomości”, objectivity became increasingly distant in the following years. Even during the PO and PSL governments, almost ten years ago, TVP was considered a television station that was not very objective. However, in the following years, what “Wiadomości” presented and what point of view it took were thoroughly examined.

Comparisons between 2015 – before PiS’s “attack” on the media – and 2016 – after the “attack” and staff replacement – show a clear change in the political line and narrative. The opposition stopped being one of the elements of the political dispute, it started to be the enemy. The government, which should also pay attention to TVP and inform citizens about things that are inconvenient for it, was presented almost as an ideal.

The opposition’s point of view and its arguments are usually presented in such a shortened way that the viewer perceives it only as a pointless inhibition of the actions of the democratically elected government representing the beliefs and interests of the majority of Poles who supported Law and Justice in the elections. What is noteworthy is the one-dimensionality of the comments and the selection of experts expressing their opinions in the program. These are generally, often repetitive, right-wing media journalists who confirm and affirm the program’s narrative. What is noteworthy is the one-dimensionality in the assessment of socio-political problems that always have only good or bad consequences, such as refugees, who generate social, cultural, economic and religious problems – we read in the description of one of the studies, quoted by Dr. Hab. Rafał Klepka from the Jagiellonian University.

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The appointment of Jacek Kurski as the president of TVP and the replacement of the staff responsible for materials for the main edition of the program in January 2016 are widely considered to be a turning point in “Wiadomości” during the PiS era. Experts indicate that restoring objectivity to “Wiadomości” will be difficult. Various options are being considered, including the one used in 1989 – changing the name. Whether “Wiadomości” will undergo such a revolution will be revealed on Thursday evening. On this day, their first edition was announced in a completely new reality, with a new president of TVP and a new editorial team, unrelated to the PiS party.

Source: Gazeta

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