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HFHR position on media statements of Culture Minister

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has issued a position statement on the comments given by Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński in “Past Twenty”, a TV programme.

The programme’s presenter Karolina Lewicka talked to the Minister of Culture about the actions taken by the Ministry and Goverment in relation to the premiere of “Death and the Maiden”, a play of the Polski Theatre in Wrocław. During the interview, Deputy Prime Minister said “This is a propaganda programme, this is the same propaganda and manipulation your station has been broadcasting for several years. And this is going to end, because that is not the way in which public television should function.”

In the assessment of the HFHR such a categorical and one-sided statement of the Minister of Culture may raise doubts as regards its compatibility with the standards contained in the European Convention on Human Rights and may be understood as an attempt to exert unacceptable pressure on the management of the public media.

The Minister’s comments are even more controversial in the context of a previous letter from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage to the head of the Dolnośląskie Province executive board, in which the Ministry urged to cancel the premiere of “Death and the Maiden” in the form announced by the creators of the play. “We consider this letter yet another example of illegitimate pressure on the representatives of local government and – indirectly – also the theatre’s administrators”, reads the position statement of the HFHR.


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