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Polish Blogosphere Update

Don't ever lose your wallet in Poland, especially if it contains your bank card – that's the lesson gleaned from expat Wendy Lady of The Poland Diaries. After reading about her ordeal to a open a bank account, I have concluded that Eurocrats can learn a thing or two from Polish-style bureaucracy. Wendy Lady laments:

I've been trying to open a bank account for 2 months and it's still not open. No, that's not entirely accurate, I can now put money into the account, I just can't take it out.

But wait, digging a little deeper, I found a virtual “cornucopia” of stories, information, and even academic research on Polish bureaucracy.

Turning now to public health news in Poland, the beatroot and other sources report that “It's Official”: avian flu has been confirmed within Polish borders. Following the news, and subsequent media coverage, the economic fallout is discussed. In the comments section of the beatroot, Roman ponders the sale of his KFC stock, while P. Gentle sympathizes with poultry farmers…

…who are now facing an irrational consumer boycott of their products. Two hundred million birds have been slaughtered or have died from the disease so far.

Also ruffling feathers, in Germany this time, is Poland's President. On a recent visit to Berlin, Lech Kaczynski was confronted by protesters, but, unperturbed, he had this to say this about homosexuals:

I do not plan to persecute homosexuals or to hinder their careers. But there is no reason to encourage it because it would mean that mankind would slowly die out.

Never to be outdone by flamboyance, especially when it comes to stage garb, the beatroot reports that the 70's Swedish pop quartet ABBA dusted off their polyester pants in support of Warsaw Pride:

The four members of Abba, who have hardly been in the same room as each other since they broke up nearly two decades ago, have came together this week to sign memorabilia which will be auctioned off on the internet.

While the publicity generated by such stunts is sure to raise the issue in the public's consciousness, doubts remain. In the comments section of the beatroot, sonia says that many homosexuals in Poland are still ‘in the closet’ -

…it won't be easy in Poland. Most Polish lesbians I know are in the closet and determined to stay there. Because of their families, religion, upbringing. The last thing they want are parades and publicity around them.

In the business sector, according to Poland – IP Law News and Resources, Krakow is a prime location for biotech firms. Reporting on an upcoming Life Science conference in the Polish city, Dariusz waxes:

Krakow is the best place to invest in biotechnology – there are 12 universities here including 2 renowned biotech faculties, special economical zone (tax exemptions) and new legal instruments for R&D activities (tax deductions).

Among Polish-language bloggers of the more politicized orientation there's been a debate going on the ruling party's project of media monitoring, the opposition's proposal to set up a parliamentary commitee to investigate secret services’ invigilation of journalists, and freedom of the press in general.

On Kurczeblade, Mrozon quotes (in Polish) the ruling party leader publicly expressing doubt as to whether Poland has free press at all:

Freedom of the press means freedom of the journalist. If it's just the freedom of publishers and owners, it just applies to a handful of people who do not necessarily have public interest in mind. […] All the most important media figures in Poland can be counted on your fingers. They decide on the shape of publications and the extent of freedom.

As a comment, Mrozon asks if PiS leader's attitude reflects the relations in his own party, where he has severely criticized one of the MP's for giving an interview: speaking to the media seems to be a task reserved for his few selected “pretorians.”

Blogging mainstream journalists Igor Janke and J. Jachowicz are pondering the impact of creating yet another parliamentary investigation commitee, as proposed by the opposition. The goal of it would be investigating into allegations of police invigilating a pair of known journalists a couple years ago. These journalists had been investigating corruption allegations of some then-prominent politicians, and were allegedly following a leak from Poland's secret services bound on compromising these politicans (as Mr. Janke reminds his readers – in Polish).

Galba writes that neither of these politicans has ever been charged with anything, as the evidence wasn't sufficient, yet both saw their careers ruined after daily Rzeczpospolita publications. He says (in Polish):

There are three “traditional” branches of government, and the fourth superbranch, which, unlike the others, is not subjected to any form of control (you can't even ask about its moral condition) and bears no responsibility for its actions. Is it strange that some say we live not in a democracy but in mediocracy?

Adam Haribu gives us almost a page full of quotes from the leading Polish newspapers, criticizing the government and the ruling party, often in a fervent and rather hysterical tone, to prove his point that “this is a way of spreading political propaganda. Too bad that the journalists are the ones doing that. And too bad they're not doing it openly as members of this or that party, buy pretending to be independent obserwers and experts.” (in Polish)

Finally Michał Karnowski, journalist writing for Newsweek Polska, sums it up on his blog (in Polish):

This is the climax point in division of public and political life started with the debate on forming the current government. Division going across newsrooms and families alike. Both sides lose their nerve, and losing it are – unfortunately – also some leaders of the journalistic community. Who's not with us is against us.

I'm not buying it. The media have many flaws, but in general they are free. They defended themselves against stupid ideas before, they'll do so now. There's no need to suspend the rules of the profession to do so.

That’s the Poland blogopshere update! Until next time – Do widzenia!

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