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Orlen’s Takeover of Polska Press: Impact on Polish Media Landscape

Stanisław Bortkiewicz’s career at Polska Press

Stanisław Bortkiewicz was one of the closest collaborators of the former president of TVP, Jacek Kurski. He served in the company from February 2016 to October 2022. He managed the management office, which was later transformed into the corporate affairs office. He lost his position after changes at TVP, when Mateusz Matyszkowicz became the new president. However, he did not leave the company – he became an advisor to the management board. In his new position in 2023, Bortkiewicz earned nearly PLN 1 million.

TVP management looked favorably on Bortkiewicz’s career. In October 2022, he became the president of Polska Press publishing houses. He also worked as an advisor to the Orlen management board. This was possible because “he applied to TVP SA for exemption from the prohibition of competition during the employment relationship”, and the company’s management board agreed to it.

Dorota Kania’s career at Polska Press

Pro-government journalist Dorota Kania She became the editor-in-chief of Polska Press on April 1, 2021. Previously, she was, among others, editor-in-chief of Telewizja Republika and co-author of the book series “Resortowe Dzieci”.

A few weeks after Kania came to Polska Press, editors-in-chief began to be replaced in individual provincial cities. 19 out of 20 newspaper bosses were fired. Behind them came journalists associated with the right-wing.

How Orlen took over Polska Press

The Polska Press regional newspapers taken over by PiS and purchased through Orlen were the fulfillment of Jarosław Kaczyński’s dreams of the so-called re-Polonization of the media. Polska Press Grupa is the largest publisher of regional media in the country. These include, among others: 22 regional dailies and the i.pl news portal.

The news that Orlen was taking over the titles of Polska Press appeared quite unexpectedly, although since 2016 there has been unofficial talk about the desire to “re-Polonize” the concern. The sale agreement was signed in December 2020 and finalized in spring 2021 after obtaining the consent of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

The head of Orlen, Daniel Obajtek, immediately became a hero of PiS, who recaptured the media from the hands of hostile capital. For this, he received the “Man of Freedom 2020” medal from the pro-government weekly “Sieci”.

In turn, PiS president Jarosław Kaczyński announced that the takeover of Polska Press by Orlen is one of the best news he has heard in recent years. Thus, Kaczyński mentally returned to the early 1990s, when he and his circle had their own media. The difference is that now they were bought with the money of a company dependent on state power.

Despite clearly moving the lever to the right, Polska Press failed to help PiS win another term. The new management left behind a decline in newspaper sales, decrepit editorial offices and a bad taste.

2024-02-23 18:52:02
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