Poland: anti-governmental hit song removed after topping charts
Written by Eliska Kacerova on 28 mai 2020
Poland enters another storm. The reason ? Polish public radio has been accused of censoring a song that topped the legendary weekly chart. In the song, the Polish artist criticised the chairman of the ruling Law and Justice party, Jarosław Kaczyński.
Dr Jacek Kucharczyk, president of the independent Polish think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, is with us today.
“Kazik, the artist behind this song stayed silent for long time, unlike some of his colleagues from the rock scene who openly criticize the current government. And all of the sudden he recorded this song, called ‘Your pain is Better Than Mine’. It touched on the very sensitive issue of Kaczyński’s trip to the cemetery during lockdown. It was an event which enraged parts of Polish public opinion, because cemeteries at that time were closed to everybody, but an exception was made for our informal leader, or whatever you want to call Kaczyński. So it became a kind of underground hit. And then it topped the charts in the third program of public radio. And we all know that the radio has been a mouthpiece of government propaganda for quite a while, since 2015, but at least they didn’t intervene in what kind of music is played there. And suddenly the news came through social media, that Kazik’s song about Kaczyński was number one! And after that the people in charge, the political appointees who are now running the station, removed basically the whole chart from the Internet. So the whole thing was a very blatant case of censorship.”
Several international organizations have expressed concerns over the deteriorating state of media freedom seen in Poland in recent years. For example the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reported that media were lacking impartiality in the 2019 Polish parliamentary elections. Bias in the media subsequently compromised voters’ ability to make a balanced decision, whilst freedom of expression and the media were undermined by criminal penalties. Indeed, Poland have dropped in the world press freedom index from 22nd place in 2013 to 62nd place in 2020.