Your Pain Is Bigger Than Mine

Few months ago I almost entirely stopped listening to Polish Radio Trójka. It happened when Wojciech Mann finally quit due to firing Anna Gacek. Or rather due to forcing her to resign. I adored his programs and felt that this radio won’t be ever the same without his legendary voice.

Unfortunately Mr Mann wasn’t the first one to quit. In the last few years we saw many others resigning, mostly because of the political atmosphere in a country and in public media. Thankfully for Trójka, it attracted talents like no other radio station and even though some people left, many others remained. But it has changed.

It shocked me and saddened when I heard that last Saturday the most recognised music chart in Poland, Lista Przebojów Programu Trzeciego, was censored because the winner critcizes leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński. After this event Marek Niedźwiedzki (author and host of Lista Przebojów), Piotr Metz (Music Director) and Marcin Kydryński quit. President of Trójka asked Bartosz Gil, who had helped to count the votes, to sign a statement saying that chart was manipulated by Mr Niedźwiedzki. He refused and was immediately suspended. Today Piotr Stelmach quit. Piotr Baron refused to co-host any next Lista Przebojów, but he’ll likely quit in June as well, after he’s back from vacations. The list grows with every transmitted program when another reporters say their goodbyes. Now it’s hard to say who’s left.

While I don’t believe government or any high-level politician had anything to do with it, the situation shows the sad state of public media in Poland. It is owned and managed by people who fear other people sitting above them on the ladder of power, and will do anything to please them – sometimes autonomously, sometimes not. Ultimately the goal is to please the single person on high top of that ladder.

It hurts me to think what Trójka has turned into and I’m afraid that it won’t recover anytime soon. Regime methods don’t fit very well to the station with such history, which was a place of rest and a breath of fresh air for its listeners, even before 1989.

I wish well to all the reporters who decided to quit and to those who stay despite all of things happening right now. I hope that one day we will hear you once again on better, free frequencies.