Only in Poland  -- media mogul priest receives government funding to fight crime

The foundation of Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, media tycoon and key ally to Poland's current ruling party, received 600 thousand zlotys (140 thousand euros) to combat crime. Meanwhile, organizations that actually deal with the problem received nothing.

Zuzanna Piechowicz
Zuzanna Piechowicz Tok FM, Poland
Source: Tok FM
Only in Poland
  -- media mogul priest receives
 government funding to fight crime - NewsMavens
Tadeusz Rydzyk. Image from Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

“We had no idea who was competing, although we checked the website of the Ministry of Justice and the Public Information Bulletin on a daily basis. We found out when the subsidies were already distributed. It is certainly worth looking into who got it,” Mrs Ewa (name changed) told TOK FM. She is the head of a significant NGO which has assisted victims of crime for years.

The Minister of Justice announced who will receive the grants on November 10. An interesting choice of date, given that all funds must be spent by the end of December. The list was published on the ministry's website, along with data on the amounts granted to each institution. There is no mention, however, of how they plan to spend it. Anna Gmiterek-Zabłocka, a TOK FM reporter, inquired directly with the organizations. They refused to comment.

"The list contains mainly the organizations which are directly related -- often by name -- to the Church, faith, Christianity, religion in general," comments another activist.

An important figure in this story is Tadeusz Rydzyk himself. Redemptorist priest, director and founder of Radio Maryja and TV Trwam (both broadcasting nationwide on premium bandwidth), rector of the Higher School of Social and Media Culture in Toruń. Without a doubt, one of the most influential figures in Poland.

In 2007, following Rydzyk’s anti-Semitic statements, the Simon Wiesenthal Center appealed to Pope Benedict XVI to dismiss the priest from his position.

The politicians of the ruling party PiS (Law and Justice) try hard not to get on Rydzyk’s bad side. They appear in his media outlets and take part in his masses. That the Redemptorist has his own loyal group of PiS politicians is common knowledge. They are untouchable.

One of these is Jan Szyszko, probably the most hated Minister of the Environment in Polish history. As long as he has Rydzyk’s support, he can continue logging in one of the most ancient forests in Europe, Puszcza Białowieska, because no one in the ruling party dares to stop him.

Details from the story:

  • The foundation of Father Tadeusz Rydzyk received 600 thousand zlotys (roughly 140 thousand euros) from the governmental fund to help victims of crime and their families.
  • There is no information on how exactly the funds will be spent.
  • The total amount has to be spent by the end of this year.

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

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NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
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