Under Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which is seeking a third term in government, press freedom in the country has deteriorated over the last decade. While the media landscape remains vibrant and pluralistic overall, independent media critical of the ruling party have faced regulatory, financial and legal pressure.

As the parliamentary election on 15 October 2023 looms, there are major concerns about the increased control that Law and Justice wields, both directly and indirectly, over regional and local media, and what this means for editorial freedoms of journalists working there.

In this episode of the MFRR In Focus, we examine how the takeover of regional media network Polska Press by the country’s state-controlled oil giant PKN Orlen in late 2020 maps onto previous capture of media by the government and its allies, and more broadly, what the implications of this control over local journalism are in an election in which rural voters in particular will be crucial for electoral success.

Guests: Konrad Siemaszko, Legal Officer at the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Poland

Producer and Host: Jamie Wiseman, Europe Advocacy Officer at IPI

Editor: Javier Luque, head of digital communications at IPI

Other episodes in this series:

Ariane Lavrilleux and the case of source protection in France

Related links:

Media capture fears confirmed in new report examining PKN Orlen takeover of Polska Press

This podcast series is part of the MFRR in Focus project sponsored by Media Freedom Rapid Response, which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. The MFRR is organised by a consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) including ARTICLE 19 Europe, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT).

For more in-depth podcast episodes about the state of press freedom in Europe, visit the MFRR website or search MFRR In Focus on your podcasts apps. The MFRR is co-funded by the European Commission.