Polish TV regulators receive anti-Semitic threats

Poland National Broadcasting Council members receive death threats after deciding not to renew ultra-Catholic TV station license.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
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 Agency reported.
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 eliminate traitors.
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.
The anonymous letter mentioned this March as the deadline for the council to change its decision before the death threat will be carried out.
Shortly after receiving the letter, Dworak and Luft filed a complaint with Warsaw police. The local prosecutor has launched an investigation.
Katarzyna Twardowska, 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 said.
Supporters of the TV station claim, however, that the decision was politically motivated.
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.”