KRAKOW – Two members of Poland’s National Broadcasting Council received death
threats of an anti-Semitic nature following their decision not to renew the
license of ultra-Catholic TV station Trwam and to reject its application to
become part of the digital television multiplex system that will replace analog
in the country.
Jan Dworak, the chairman of the council, and Krzysztof
Luft, a senior board member, received a handwritten letter sent from a Warsaw
post office stating: “If you continue to carry out the orders of the anti-Polish
and anti-Catholic Jewish mafia of [Prime Minister Donald] Tusk and [President
Bronislaw] Komorowski by not granting TV Trwam a license, the Freedom and
Independence Court will issue a death sentence against you,” the Polish Press
The anonymous threat continued: “I will sacrifice myself
and shoot all of you.
Who do you think you are, minions of Satan? You
will suffer if you don’t grant a license for TV Trwam, the firing squad will
Death to the enemies of our homeland!” The original
Freedom and Independence Court was an underground anti-Communist organization
founded after World War II.
The Torun-based Trwam TV started operating in
May 2003, and is owned by the Warsaw Province of the Congregation of the Most
Holy Redeemer missionary congregation.
The channel is most closely
associated with Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, a Roman Catholic priest who owns the
conservative Radio Maryja, which has been accused on several occasions of
broadcasting anti-Semitic content.
Trwam has studios in Warsaw and Torun
and is largely funded by donations from radical Catholic believers.
anonymous letter mentioned this March as the deadline for the council to change
its decision before the death threat will be carried out.
receiving the letter, Dworak and Luft filed a complaint with Warsaw police. The
local prosecutor has launched an investigation.
spokeswoman for the National Broadcasting Council, said that this was not the
first letter protesting the decision, but it was the first to include threats
against the lives of council members.
Dworak said Trwam’s license was not
renewed for financial reasons.
“In the last three years, the Lux
Veritatis Foundation, which owns the TV channel, has shown losses arising from
operating activities and a significant fall in income,” he
Supporters of the TV station claim, however, that the decision was
The council first rejected Trwam’s application to
renew its license and become part of the digital television multiplex system
last April, saying that Rydzyk and the Lux Veritatis Foundation did not meet
financial or programming criteria.
Backed by leaders of the Catholic
Church and politicians from the conservative Law and Justice party, Trwam’s
owners decided to appeal the decision and sent a letter to the National
Broadcasting Council saying: “The council did not provide clearly defined and
transparent criteria for the selection of broadcasters.”