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Mapping Digital Media: Poland

The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.

Digital switch-over of terrestrial broadcasting in Poland may still be almost a year away, but the lead-up and preparations to it have shed light on the most entrenched problems facing the country’s public service broadcasters.

This study of the impact of digitization on Polish media highlights the delays in digitization caused by political infighting; the lack of technical and financial assistance to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society benefit from digitization and new media; and the funding crisis afflicting public broadcasting. The political and economic position of the public broadcaster is critical in the digitization of broadcasting in Poland, both because of its continued—albeit diminishing—role in the media market, and because of its extensive involvement in the preparations for the switch-over.

The authors of this report assess that the initiatives to inform the public about how digitization will affect them have been insufficient. Appropriate provisions should swiftly be put in place. Other major recommendations include a revision of spectrum allocation criteria to improve access for those “third way” broadcasters such as religious, educational, civil society or local government outlets, and the need for a durable solution to the public broadcasting funding crisis.

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