Polish TV boss under fire over far-right ties

8th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Piotr Farfal, a 31-year-old lawyer, was formerly a skinhead activist and editor of far-right magazines.

Warsaw -- A group of Polish cultural and political icons on Tuesday slammed the head of the country's public broadcaster TVP, who has sparked controversy over his ties with the extreme right.

Marek Edelman, the last surviving commander of the 1943 Warsaw Jewish ghetto uprising against the occupying Nazi Germans, and renowned film director Andrzej Wajda were among the dozen figures who blasted Piotr Farfal, who took office in December.

"In a democratic state we cannot tolerate that public office be held by people who have publicly extolled racism and anti-Semitism, who have praised Nazism, and have never renounced such views," Edelman wrote in the leading daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

Wajda, writing in the same newspaper, said that having Farfal at the helm of TVP was "shameful and a scandal" for Poland, calling him a "former fascist" whose views ran counter to Poles' tradition of resisting totalitarianism.

Film directors Agnieszka Holland, Kazimierz Kutz and Ryszard Krauze, as well as actor Andrzej Seweryn, also hit out at Farfal.

Krauze said he would be boycotting TVP and called on fellow Poles not to watch its broadcasts on May 3, when Poland's commemorates its landmark constitution of 1791.

Farfal, a 31-year-old lawyer, was formerly a skinhead activist and editor of far-right magazines.

He was named to TVP's board in 2006 by the ultra-Catholic, eurosceptic League of Polish Families, before the three-party government of which it was part lost power in 2007.

He was propelled to the top of TVP as a result of a spat among other board members, and had since brought on board other individuals tied to the League of Polish Families.

In February, the europhile French-German channel Arte suspended cooperation with TVP, saying it did not share Farfal's "values."

AFP/Expatica

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