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Polish state TV apologises to LGBT+ community. The world noticed

Polish state TV apologises to LGBT+ community. The world noticed

Image source: © Instagram
Maja Kozłowska,
14.02.2024 13:30

Activists Maja Heban and Bart Staszewski were guests on the TVP Info evening interview. During the program, the station's journalist made a gesture that some viewers found touching, while others deemed it controversial.

On the evening of February 11, TVP Info hosted a discussion featuring two social activists, Bart Staszewski and Maja Heban. Staszewski is a film director and co-founder of the "Miłość nie wyklucza" association, the Equality March in Lublin, and the Basta Foundation. Maja Heban is a transgender publicist and writer known for authoring the report "Dignity Please: On Transgenderism, Anger, and Hope".

LGBT+ activists on Polish state TV

Bart Staszewski emphasised that he had not visited TVP in the last eight years. During the two terms of the Law and Justice government, anyone who did not share their conservative views was effectively blocked from appearing on public television. However, when the current government took over Polish state TV, there was a noticeable change and space was made for previously marginalised social groups. TVP is undergoing significant changes affecting both the staff and the narrative conveyed.

Many rainbow activists are hopeful that the era of propaganda and venomous opinions presented as irrefutable facts is over. Meanwhile, some of the former top employees of TVP have found new employment at the private TV Republika station. This station has become the main channel for conservative viewers and is now a serious competitor to the country's biggest news stations since the coalition government took over TVP.

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TVP journalist apologises

During Bart Staszewski and Maja Heban's visit to TVP Info, editor Wojciech Szeląg made an unprecedented gesture towards the LGBT+ community.

"For many years in Poland, shameful words have been directed at numerous individuals because they chose to determine for themselves who they are and whom they love. LGBT+ people are not an ideology but people; specific names, faces, relatives and friends. All these people should hear the word ‘sorry’ somewhere. This is where I apologise," the journalist said on air.

Bart Staszewski and Maja Heban could not hide their emotion after the event.

"I didn't know how much I needed these words. They allow me to move on. Thank you, Wojtek. Apologies are essential for healing. For me, it is not just words. I believe we can build the Poland of our dreams. This is a good start," the activist wrote on Instagram, thanking the journalist.

TVP’s apology reached abroad

Major foreign media reported on Wojciech Szeląg's apology, including The Guardian, which quoted Bart Staszewski and provided additional context for non-Polish readers.

" During last year’s election campaign, Donald Tusk vowed to swiftly reform the broadcaster as part of a wider overhaul aimed at reversing the damage done to the rule of law during PiS’s years in power," reads the article on The Guardian. It also mentions criticism of the new government's actions.

" Days after Tusk was sworn in as prime minister, his government gutted the broadcaster’s top management and ushered in sweeping personnel changes, sparking criticism that the new administration risked recreating its own politicised public television network," reads The Guardian.

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