On this Thursday, November 25, at the headquarters of the Gazeta Wyborcza, the mythical daily founded by the opponent to communism and figure of the Solidarnosc union Adam Michnik, the offices are almost deserted because of the pandemic. But this apparent calm poorly masks the real turmoil in which the newspaper’s teams have been plunged for weeks. Nervous, Adam Michnik chains cigarettes and back and forth between his office and that of his first assistant, Jaroslaw Kurski. “I feel like General de Gaulle the day before the invasion, he blurted out. I am absolutely furious. “
That day, on a full page of the newspaper, the two men signed a scathing indictment against the board of directors of Agora, the company that owns the title. They expose to readers the nature of what they name “The biggest crisis in the history of Gazeta Wyborcza », a house that has yet seen others. Because if the newspaper, at the forefront of the fight against the conservative majority of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has been the object of violent political attacks for six years, it is from within that could come the most fatal blow.
In question: the decision of the board of directors of Agora, taken five months earlier, without any consultation of the editor-in-chief or of its historical founder, to merge the title with an online information site. a “Harmful mixture of two incompatible economic models” in order to “Save money and fire journalists”, denounce the two editors-in-chief. An optimization of costs and a social plan moreover, in a newspaper and a company which nevertheless make profits.
Society of “all profit”
” The Wyborcza will it remain the home of the Polish democratic intelligentsia, or will it become a simple generator of profit for the parent company? “, ask the two pillars of the editorial staff, accusing the board of directors of wanting to sell the content of the newspaper in the same way as “Popcorn or fast food” in its other sectors of activity. “What is at stake is the very identity of the Gazeta Wyborcza as we have known it for over thirty years, confie Jaroslaw Kurski. It is for us a question of being or not to be. “
Because the Gazeta Wyborcza occupies a very special place in the Polish media landscape. Much more than a committed observer, she was an actor in her own right in the post-1989 democratic transition. Its history is closely linked to that of the Third Polish Republic, whose contours it helped shape, and of which its founder, Adam Michnik, remains one of the symbols.
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Threatened, the mythical Polish daily “Gazeta Wyborcza” fights for its identity