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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 April, 2004, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
The press in Poland
Polish press graphic
Like other communist countries, Poland had a substantial, subsidised and censored press in the years before 1989.

While the range of national dailies and weeklies has shrunk since then, new magazine titles have boomed.

With a population of over 38m, Poland has attracted the attention of foreign media groups. The German Springer Verlag and Passauer Neue Presse, along with the Norwegian Orkla, are the largest foreign investors in the daily press.

The US media group Cox Enterprises owns 12.5% of Gazeta Wyborcza, the largest-circulation serious daily. Attempts to challenge the market dominance of Gazeta Wyborcza have failed.

Some major dailies are revamps of communist-era titles, while attempts to create new national dailies have proved unsuccessful.

There are three leading national political and general-interest weeklies, all competing intensely: Polityka, Wprost, and Newsweek Polska. Other weeklies include the right-wing Gazeta Polska and liberal Roman Catholic Tygodnik Powszechny.

In a category of its own is the left-wing, anti-clerical and satirical weekly Nie. Owned and edited by the communist government spokesman of the 1980s, Jerzy Urban, it has a reputation for muck-raking and investigative journalism.

Main papers


Based: Warsaw
Founded: 2003
Circulation: 300,000
Owner: Axel Springer Polska

Modelled on the German Bild, which is also owned by the Hamburg-based Axel Springer company, this is an attempt to win over some of the market hitherto dominated by its main tabloid rival, Super Express. Fakt competes aggressively on price and has been a rapid market success.

Gazeta Wyborcza

Based: Warsaw
Founded: 1989
Circulation: 516,000 (weekdays); 686,000 (weekends)
Owner: Agora, Cox Enterprises

The highest-circulation serious daily, the title of the tabloid-format Gazeta Wyborcza (Electoral Gazette) harks back to its foundation at the time of the partially free elections of 1989, which saw widespread success for candidates of the Solidarity trade union movement. The paper drew its first staff from the democratic opposition to communism. Today it is broadly centre-left in tone and is associated with the mainstream of democratic and economic changes since 1989. It has however been criticised for distorted coverage of controversial issues such as post-communist vetting, Polish-Jewish relations or the Polish minority in Lithuania.

Nasz Dziennik

Based: Warsaw
Founded: 1998
Circulation: 250,000
Owner: Thought to be Lux Veritatis Foundation

Closely linked to the controversial Roman Catholic broadcaster Radio Maryja, this outspoken daily is outside the control of the Polish Episcopate. It has often caused controversy with its nationalist agenda, thinly veiled anti-Semitism and open opposition to the European Union. It is also scathing about many aspects of the post-1989 democratic changes.


Based: Warsaw
Founded: 1982
Circulation: 275,000
Owner: Orkla (Norwegian), PPW (Polish)

The nationwide Rzeczpospolita has a special niche in the Polish press market, reflecting its original status as a government journal of record in the late communist period. Transformed into an independent and privately owned newspaper after 1989, it has built and maintained a reputation for comprehensive, reliable and authoritative coverage. It also prints a set of highly-regarded financial, legal and other supplements spread across all six days of publication. Generally seen as the paper of choice amongst academics, diplomats, businessmen and managers.

Super Express

Based: Warsaw
Founded: early 1990s
Circulation: 371,000
Owner: Marieberg, Bonnier (Swedish)

This is a popular and often sensationalist tabloid which gained notoriety by publishing opinion polls just before elections in 1993 and 1995, when such polls are prohibited by law.


Based: Warsaw
Founded: 1990 (1944)
Circulation: 110,000 (weekdays); 150,000 (weekends)
Owner: Ad Novum Universal

Trybuna is the direct successor of Trybuna Ludu, the main communist party daily from 1948 to 1989. Now describing itself as a social democratic paper, it has close ties to the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), which ruled Poland in coalition from 1993-97, then returned to power in 2001. Its left-wing pedigree is reflected in its choice of themes, sharp language and commentary. The paper has reportedly suffered recurring financial and circulation difficulties.


Based: Warsaw
Founded: 1996, relaunched 2004
Circulation: n/a
Owner: Dom Wydawniczy - Zycie

Zycie is a relaunch of a serious and independent centre-right daily whose publishers hoped it would rival Gazeta Wyborcza. Despite a reputation for high-quality, investigative political journalism, it was forced to suspend publication after getting into financial difficulties.

Zycie Warszawy

Based: Warsaw
Founded: 1944
Circulation: 250,000 (weekdays); 460,000 (weekends)
Owner: Businessman Zbigniew Jakubiec

Zycie Warszawy was set up to serve the population of the Warsaw region. But it also grew into one of the main national dailies during the communist era. Today it presents itself as a general-interest daily with no particular political orientation. Less distinctive than the other national dailies, it has managed to maintain a strong position within the Polish press market.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


Country profile: Poland
26 Apr 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Poland
27 Mar 04  |  Country profiles

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