- June 20, 2017
No retransmissions of the programmes from the Polish TV this year
On the 15th of June, the meeting of the Group for 3 May was held in the Lithuanian Parliament. It concerned the possibility of watching Polish television in Lithuania. The Group’s aim is to create an alternative to pro-Kremlin Russian television.
When talking to Kurier Wileński, a deputy and the member of the Group for 3 May Andrius Kubilius said: “We have proposed the retransmission of four Polish channels in Lithuania. We have sent our project to the government. Now, we have to wait until the government finds funds for financing the retransmission of Polish programmes.”
The project involves the retransmission of TVP Info, which is the eighth most popular TV station in Poland, TVN24 Bis, Kino Polska International and Kino Polska Muzyka International. It is estimated that the annual budget for broadcasting these TVs in Lithuania would be around 350,000 euro (without license fee).
When talking to Kurier Wileński, Deividas Matulionis, the foreign policy advisor to the Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, said that there is no money for the retransmission of Polish channels in the current state budget. “The financing of this project will be discussed when planning the state budget for 2018. Discussions have already started. If the government manages to raise money for launching this project, it will be highly possible that the residents of the Vilnius Region will be able to watch Polish programmes next year,” emphasised Mr Matulionis.
Saulius Skvernelis has repeatedly advocated the possibility of watching Polish television in the Vilnius Region. “The government is close to finding a solution and we will certainly do it. We will offer the citizens having the Polish nationality the opportunity for watching Polish channels. It will be a good step not only for the Polish national minority, but also for Lithuanians who can speak Polish. The access to information sources from the neighbouring country is very important, ” assured the head of government.
Discussions about the possibility of watching Polish television in Lithuania have been taking place for several years. Although for the majority residents, Polish is a mother tongue, they do not have the possibility of watching Polish television. The studies carried out by many sociologists and political scientists indicate that most of the residents from the Vilnius Region usually watch Russian and Belarussian television programmes.
After a number of negotiations at various levels, the Seimas faction of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance (EAPL-CFA) has issued a letter concerning the retransmission of Polish channels to the President of the Polish Television Board Jacek Kurski. The members of the faction suggest that there should be the retransmission of programmes from such TV stations as TVP Info, TVP Kultura, TVP Historia, TVP Religia, TVP ABC (TV for kids), TVP Rozrywka, TVP Seriale and TVP Parlament in Lithuania. They think that TVP Polonia channel is for sure not enough to properly promote the culture and history of Poland, as well as the Polish language in Lithuania.
Since 2015 the Polish Discussion Club is doing its best to increase the presence of Polish television productions in the Vilnius Region. The members of the club often raised this issue in discussions with Lithuanian and Polish politicians.
Remigijus Šeris, the Director General of the Centre of Lithuanian Radio and Television (Telecentrum), told Kurier Wileński that all the technical support that is necessary for the retransmission of Polish programmes in Lithuania has already been created.
Translated by Magdalena Bobryk within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.