Visegrad Radio on the way

By bne IntelliNews November 16, 2016

The Visegrad Four will launch a joint radio station at the start of next year, the head of Radio Poland told Hungarian public television M1 on November 15.

Poland and Hungary have led efforts this year to create joint media amongst the group, which also includes the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Warsaw and Budapest view the V4 as a platform to push what Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called earlier this year a “counter cultural revolution,” including a bid to return power from the EU to national capitals.

However, Prague and Bratislava are far from willing to go to war with Brussels. The governments of both Hungary and Poland have been criticized for clamping down on media independence.

As part of a widescale purge of Polish state media by the ruling PiS, Barbara Stanislawczyk was appointed head of Polish Radio. She said Visegrad Radio will broadcast in Polish, Czech, Slovak, and Hungarian, according to Hungary’s state newswire MTI.

Programmes will be aimed at presenting the cultures of the member countries and focusing on topical political issues, Stanislawczyk added. Echoing Orban and Jaroslaw Kaczynski - chief of PiS - the radio executive insisted the Visegrad region is gaining weight in Europe and highlighted the importance of the media in that trend.

The new station will also promote cooperation between media in the four countries, she said. Polish officials in September sought to revive talks over setting up a joint Visegrad TV channel.

"Given the reforms to come in the EU, we want to raise a new quality of communication. This is an excellent plan to make it happen," said Polish PM Beata Szydlo said at the time. The channel could be up and running within two years, she forecast.

Orban lamented the fact that Visegrad had not set up an English-language news service years ago. It would have saved the countries from the ills of "post-communist media", he claimed.

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