The Warsaw court did not agree to enter the Polish Radio into liquidation in the National Court Register. The information was provided by the chairman of the National Broadcasting Council, Maciej Świrski. The Ministry of Culture has already commented on the decision in a published statement by Minister Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz.
At the end of December, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, announced that the Polish Television, Polish Radio and the Polish Press Agency were going into liquidation. He justified this by President Andrzej Duda’s decision to veto the budget-related bill and suspend financing of public media.
Liquidation of Polish Radio. The court dismisses the application
On Monday, January 22, the court clerk of the District Court for the Capital City of Warsaw Warsaw dismissed the application to put Polskie Radio into liquidation. The court’s decision and its justification were published on the X website by Maciej Świrski, chairman of the National Broadcasting Council.
“The entry in the register of dissolution of the company and commencement of its liquidation is declaratory in nature. However, the registry court does not play only a technical role, and the unprecedented nature of this case requires broader solutions and a thorough analysis of the provisions of special acts, case law and doctrine, while basing the decision in the case on one of the contradictory lines,” we read in the justification.
The court noted that the name of the central company of Polskie Radio appears in the Broadcasting Act and in the event of liquidation, these provisions would become dead. He also draws attention to the danger that “whenever the authorities in Poland change, the public media will be considered for liquidation.”
Therefore, it must be emphasized that the decision applies only to the nationwide Polish Radio. In the case of individual regional radio stations, i.e. so far the companies of Radio Gdańsk, Radio Kraków, Radio Katowice, Warsaw’s Radio dla Nasze, Radio Szczecin and Radio Rzeszów, the relevant district courts have already entered liquidation into the National Court Register.
The decision also indicated that the reason for the current situation around public media is the failure to implement the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal from 2016, which stated the need to take into account the National Broadcasting Council in the process of appointing the authorities of TVP and Polskie Radio.
The Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council was asked about the next steps he intends to take in this matter. “I will not inform about this so as not to warn people who are introducing the authoritarian personal rule of Donald Tusk. Variant plans are prepared depending on the development of the situation,” he replied.
The Ministry of Culture issued a statement: The entry has no legal effects
The court’s decision is not final. The Ministry of Culture has already announced that it will appeal against the decision.
“Today’s (of January 22, 2024) entry of court clerk Karolina Ilczuk in the National Court Register, refusing to disclose the opening of the liquidation of Polskie Radio SA, does not produce legal effects resulting in a change in the status of the Company and its authorities. Polskie Radio SA is still in liquidation based on the resolution of the General Meeting of the Company (GM) of December 27, 2023, at which the State Treasury, holding 100% of the shares in the share capital, was legally represented by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. The company has neither a management board nor a president, because during the liquidation process, in accordance with the Commercial Companies Code, management functions are performed by the liquidator. The liquidator of the Company is Mr. Paweł Majcher, appointed by the above-mentioned resolution of the General Meeting of Shareholders,” we read.
The Minister of Culture emphasizes that “only a final (i.e. final, after exhausting all instances) judgment of the commercial court invalidating the resolution of the General Meeting of Shareholders of December 27, 2023 could effectively question the legality of the commenced process of liquidation of Polskie Radio SA in liquidation and the appointment of a liquidator who still serves as a legal entity under the law. its function.” “The same applies analogously to the effectiveness of the appointment by the General Meeting of the new Supervisory Board of Polskie Radio SA in liquidation (composed of: Olga Sztejnert-Roszak, Tomasz Kapliński and Jakub Bartosiak),” the release added.
“As a representative of the owner of companies that are supposed to implement the mission of public media, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage makes every possible effort to restore pluralistic, reliable public radio at the highest level to Poles. Due to the obstruction of the President of the Republic of Poland regarding budget-related funds for financing the Company in the coming year, the General Meeting of Shareholders was forced to put the Company into liquidation, but the current management of the Company is doing everything to rationalize expenses to ensure smooth economic management, production of programs and operation of the Company. At the same time, numerous analyzes and audits will be carried out to investigate any possible financial abuses in 2016-2023,” we read further.
“Legal disputes regarding the appointment of the authorities of media companies may continue for some time, but the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, having numerous legal opinions from professors confirming the correctness of the liquidation processes, is convinced that the disputes will end successfully,” the statement added at the end.
Minister Sienkiewicz himself also commented on the matter in a less formal way on his profile on the X portal.
“11 courts ordered the liquidation of state-owned media companies and one court in Warsaw refused. Is it because the head of this court is someone appointed by Judge Plebiak from Ziobro? I don’t know that, but I know that under the law the current liquidators are legal,” he wrote, adding the hashtag #AniKrokuWstecz.