Polish Helsinki Foundation speaks out against closure of «Telenowyny”


The Polish Helsinki Foundation [PHF]has written a letter to the Chair of the Board of TVP SA Piotr Farfal expressing concern over the plans to cancel the Ukrainian language programme “Telenowyny”.

The letter, dated 28 July, points out that the rights of national minorities are guaranteed both by domestic legislation, including the Constitution, and international agreements which Poland has ratified, including the Framework Convention for the Rights of National Minorities.

In addition, Poland ratified in February 2009 the European Charter on Regional or Minority Languages, with this coming into force in June. This specifically envisages encouraging and promoting television broadcasts in the languages of minorities.

“A nationwide television programme is one of the most important mechanisms by which Ukrainians who are dispersed throughout Poland can not only protect their culture, but also present it to the “majority” in society”, the letter reads.

PHF adds that such a programme promotes inter-cultural dialogue between Ukrainians and Poles.

The Foundation also expressed its surprise at the argument presented by the TVP management that the programme was being cancelled due to its low level of popularity, noting that huge viewing figures can hardly be expected for a programme aimed at a specific group. It stresses that the crisis cannot be used to justify the closure since the mission of public television includes meeting the information needs of national minorities.

UNIAN reports that the Organization of Ukrainians in Poland is planning to ask Ukraine’s Government and international organizations to ask TVP SA to reconsider its decision to cancel the programme.

As already reported here , TVP SA has decided to close the programme “Telenowyny”, which is broadcast once a month. It has claimed that the cost is too high and it is not sufficiently popular (around 140 thousand viewers).

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