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The party constellation sounds rather familiar except that there hasn't really been a Fidesz type party in Poland, just an endlessly disintegrating and recombining  kaleidescope of right wing groups, ranging from perfectly sane center-right types to the extreme right. I'll try to do a diary soon in time for posts on the Polish elections.
On the other hand the media picture is rather different, particularly the newspapers. Poland has two quite good daily papers - the center left Gazeta Wyborcza run by Poland's most powerful media group which was created and is still run by the old left wing dissident establishment. The second one is the moderate right wing Rzeczpospolita which is an old pre-1989 paper taken over by a combination of right wing dissidents and some more professional journalists. The pre '89 opposition had plenty of journalism experience in Poland's thriving underground press of the 1980's.  Both papers go after corruption quite agressively, priding themselves on taking down crooked politicians and competing to see how many scalps they can land. The libel laws in Poland can be a little strict but nothing like the sick parody you describe in Hungary. Plus GW and its parent company, Agora, are powerful enough in its own right to make them a rather big target for the judges and pols to take on, as governments have found out to their cost.
by MarekNYC on Sat Aug 13th, 2005 at 01:08:39 AM EST
Should be interesting; I hear less about Polish politics than say Czech or SLovak politics.

Regarding the media and dis/similarities, I recall something about a media war in Poland during the previous government. Was that ended soon, or you don't recall anything like that?

About our press, for fairness, I should tell more about it - it's not like media freedom died, or even scandal exposures, just investigative reporting.

There are two large political dailies: Népszabadság, the 'centre-left' daily, it was originally a Party paper  that emancipated itself in the last few years, later owned by Ringier, today by another Western media group I forgot. The opposition has Magyar Nemzet, which conserves the namer of a long-running respected conservative paper, but its staff is actually that of a right-to-far-right paper that bought MN. These two do report of a lot of scandals on the other side, like your big dailies, but almost all are either based on leaks (no journalist work involved), or - ever more often - based on nothing, more spin than substance. They are too beholden to the party line.

However, there are quality magazines. They do some investigating, but regrettably not much, they are more strong in punditry and analysis. The best is (ironically given my politico-economic views), the equivalent of the Economist, HVG. (In fact, it is the only paper I would call impartial.) Then there is 168 óra, which grew out of a very good radio show that did investigative reporting (and snuffing out which was one of the intentions of both Media Wars). Finally, there is Magyar Narancs (which I mentioned in the unknown European films thread): this is a paper originally allied to Fidesz, back in its progressive youth party years, but the paper maintained this worldview and broke with Fidesz. It has the stingiest tongue.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Aug 13th, 2005 at 04:22:14 PM EST
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