Poland’s public broadcaster TVP has replied to the internal criticism over whether Poland should take part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in the future.
On 22 September, Polish news portal Gazeta.pl reported that members of the Programme Council of TVP had been critical of the country’s participation in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. The Programme Council — which only has the power to advise — questioned whether the Junior Eurovision Song Contest was in line with the Act on Radio and Television of 1992.
According to the Act on Radio and Television, broadcasts which negatively impact the mental well-being and development of minors should be shunned. Owing to the competitive element of the show, the council questioned whether Junior Eurovision can have a negative impact on young people’s mental health.
How did TVP respond to that criticism?
On September 23, TVP responded to the news by issuing a statement on their website, in which they defended their participation in JESC.
TVP points to the Code of Ethics of the contest, saying that the contest provides for a “a safe and morally appropriate environment” for young people and stressing that “all necessary steps are taken to prevent the lack of comfort of children due to their level of skills.”
According to TVP: “Contestants are encouraged to be creative, be friends and share cultural experiences. The event is held in a community-building spirit and the competitive aspect is essentially reduced.”
What did the Programme Council members say in the first place?
One of the council members, former Law and Justice MP Barbara Bubula, told Gazeta.pl:
“[I]t seems to us that [the Junior Eurovision] formula …has little to do with the mission to raise culture. One may wonder if it is in some way contradictory to the Act on Radio and Television.”
Later, she added that participants are “treated as an object of pop culture, like an adult toy.”
Instead of participating in Junior Eurovision, the Programme Council members proposed that TVP should create a local song festival for Polish children.
However, a part of the Programme Council of TVP did not agree with the critique of Junior Eurovision. Some members have said that the criticism stemmed from the influence of the Polish government led by the conservative nationalist party Law and Justice.
A former Polish oppositional MP, Łukasz Abgarowicz, told Gazeta.pl:
“The proposal is part of the Law and Justice educational policy. This is not a festival of religious or patriotic songs, but it opens young people up to “strangers”, the culture of other societies, and builds curiosity and a transnational community of children.”
The official stance of the Programme Council has yet to be released as their meeting with the Board of Executives is scheduled to happen later.