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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January, 1976

INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS OF CAPITALISM REPORT, 'TRENDS OF WESTERN RADIO PROPAGANDA BROADCAST IN POLISH'

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    This document is an example of the monthly analyses of Western broadcasting to Poland prepared by the Interior Ministry-affiliated Institute for the Study of Contemporary Problems of Capitalism (Instytut Badania Współczesnych Problemów Kapitalizmu). It is representative of the extensive cottage industry devoted to such analyses that developed in Poland in the 1970s.
    "Institute for the Study of Contemporary Problems of Capitalism Report, 'Trends of Western Radio Propaganda Broadcast in Polish'," January, 1976, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). Translated by Irena Czernichowska. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121506
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121506

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Confidential
trends of Western radio ProPaganda
BroadCast in PolisH
Monthly Analysis
Institute for the Study of Contemporary Capitalism
January 1976

Contents

1. General evaluation .................................................................... I

2. Radio Free Europe .....................................................................1

3. BBC .........................................................................................13

4. Deutsche Welle and Deutschlandfunk .......................................17

5. Voice of America ......................................................................23

6. Radio Vatican ...........................................................................27

7. Radio Tirana ............................................................................30

8. Radio Liberty ...........................................................................32

General Evaluation

In January this year, in the broadcasts of Radio Free Europe, the BBC, Deutsche Wells, and Deutschlandfunk, as well as Radio Vatican, there has been a noticeable intensification, beginning in the second half of December last year, of propaganda questioning the existence of basic citizens’ rights in Poland. Only the Voice of America, which concentrated on problems related to the Soviet Union and international affairs, did not join this propaganda stream.

Issues of citizens’ freedoms also dominated broadcasts about the internal affairs of the socialist countries, especially the Soviet Union. That propaganda was complemented by commentaries about a wide range of social-economic issues in Poland and the Soviet Union, as well as in other socialist countries.

The propaganda of Radio Tirana contained predominantly social-economic topics, with a slightly decreased number of programs dealing with Poland and an increase in the attacks on the Soviet Union.

In general, analysis of the propaganda of all the broadcasting stations indicates the following:

a. A clear increase in propaganda aimed at casting doubt on the existence of basic citizens’ rights, and the functioning of democratic mechanisms in Poland and the Soviet Union, which also referred to mandatory international norms [applicable to] internal laws: RFE, BBC, DW and DF, Voice of America, and Radio Vatican.

b. An increase in the tendency to exploit alleged discontent with the policies of the authorities regarding the freedom of citizens in Poland and the Soviet Union and attempts to grant them the rank of a political opposition: RFE, BBC, DW, Voice of America, and Radio Vatican.

c. Exaggerating the temporary economic difficulties in Poland and the Soviet Union and using them to criticize the socialist system and the socio-economic policies of the Party and government in those countries: RFE, BBC, DW and DF, and Voice of America.

d. Criticizing Soviet policies in relation to other socialist countries, West European Communist and workers’ parties, and capitalist countries: RFE, BBC, DW and DF, and Voice of America.

Internal affairs of PolisH PeoPle’s rePuBliC in BroadCasting station ProPaganda

The stations giving the most attention to Polish internal affairs were RFE, followed by BBC, DW, Radio Vatican, and Radio Tirana. All those broadcasting stations, except Radio Tirana, exploited the case of the so-called testament of fifty-nine intellectuals, and the position of the church hierarchy on the question of the projected changes in the constitution of the Polish People’s Republic. The propaganda has focused on the freedom of the citizens, as affected by the projected constitutional changes and the final resolutions of the CSCE [Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe].

No significant changes have been observed in the propaganda of the Voice of America or Radio Tirana. The Voice of America abstains from direct propaganda interference in Polish internal affairs. By criticizing soviet politics, however, it indirectly influences Polish listeners, suggesting references and comparisons to them.

Filled with demagogic elements, Radio Tirana propaganda concentrates on trying to get workers and Polish youth to join the illegal CPP [Communist Party of Poland] and criticizing Poland’s economic contacts with the Soviet Union and with the developed capitalist countries as a “direct threat to the interests of the Polish nation.”

Among the more significant themes regarding Polish internal affairs in the propaganda of the broadcasting stations, the following are worth mentioning:

a. Use of “testament 59” and the church position in the projected changes in the PPR Constitution to criticize party and government policies regarding respect for the constitutional liberty of the citizens: RFE, BBC, DW, and Radio Vatican

b. Attempting to link the “testament 59” position of its signatories to the position taken by the Episcopate to suggest the existence in Poland of a political opposition: RFE, BBC, DW and Radio Vatican

c. Spreading critical evaluations and prognoses of the economic situation in Poland: RFE, BBC, and DW

PolisH foreign PoliCY

Some commentaries about Polish foreign policy concerned progress in normalization of relations between Poland and West Germany. The majority of the commentaries concentrated on the differences among West German political parties regarding the ratification of the Helsinki agreement with Poland. The interest of the governing coalition in further normalizing relations with Poland was also mentioned. Only Radio Tirana criticized the PPR agreement that allowed Polish citizens of German descent to emigrate to the FRG, stating that it was a concession to the “Bonn revanchists.”

***

For purposes of comparison, the analysis also contains an evaluation of the main commentaries by Radio Liberty broadcast in Russian. In the afore-mentioned period, this station’s propaganda concentrated on the economic problems of socialist countries and criticized the economic situation in Soviet Union and the economic policy of the CPSU. Attempts were also made to impugn CPSU politics toward other Communist and workers’ parties in Western Europe, and to question the Soviet Union’s peaceful policies in that arena.