Media in Poland: Polish Newspapers, TV & Radio
Poland's broadcasting market is the largest in Eastern Europe and over the years, has attracted vast foreign investment. There is freedom and diversity of information, although laws against deriding the nation and its political system are still in force. The Polish media scene has long been one of the liveliest in Eastern Europe not least because of the popularity enjoyed by semi-official and dissident publications during the communist period.
Poland has more than 5,000 press publications including national, regional and local newspapers - both dailies and weeklies - monthly magazines and the specialised press. None of the Polish dailies publish on a Sunday or in the afternoon. Instead they offer weekend editions.
The Gazeta Wyborcza, Eastern Europe's first independent daily paper and the Fakt tabloid which is the biggest-selling daily are the most popular newspapers. They are both in Polish but even if you can't read the language it is worth getting the Gazeta Wyborcza on a Friday for its Co jest Grane? supplement which looks ahead to events and attractions for the following week. Other large dailies include Super Express, Dziennik and Rzeczpospolita. Smaller and more specialised national dailies include Przeglad Sportowy, which focuses on sport, and two business newspapers, Gazeta Prawna and Puls Biznesu.
Poland produces a number of English-language publications with the longest established one being the Warsaw Voice. Warsaw Voice is a weekly paper based in Warsaw but available pretty much anywhere in the country. It's readable and informative with lots of listings, though it is noticeably aimed at the business community.
In the big cities, Western newspapers are now available on the day of publication. The ones you are most likely to pick up from kiosks or EMPiK stores are the international edition of The Guardian, the Financial Times and the Herald Tribune.
Glossy magazines are as popular in Poland as anywhere else in the developed world. Polish-language versions of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire can be found on the shelves amongst home-grown women's magazines like Ewa and Twoj Styl, and there are many men's lifestyle magazines available as well.
As with newspapers, many western English-language magazines are now available in Poland. Most common are Newsweek, Time and the Economist.
Aside from the public TV broadcaster in Poland - Telewizja Polska (TVP) - which is owned by the state Treasury, there are more than 200 licensed commercial television broadcasters including seven terrestrial, over 50 satellite and 150 cable all competing for viewers.
TVP dominates the market more than any other broadcaster with three terrestrial channels: TVP1 and TVP2 which air nationwide, and TVP Info which broadcasts regionally as well as a number of channels which are available on satellite and cable. For sports fans there is a dedicated channel - TVP Sport. Like anywhere else in Europe, Polish TV offers the regular game shows, soap operas and American films but it has managed to preserve a few quirks of its own - notably the tendency for foreign exports to be dubbed with the same person reading all the parts in the same voice!
In the big cities many people now have satellite and cable TV which offer a wider range of channels and shows. Most hotels carry a selection of international cable and satellite channels although it is likely you will only be able to find German language stations rather than English.
Polish radio reaches just over half of the population which more than 200 stations in all. The public radio broadcaster - Polskie Radio - is owned by the state again. It has five national radio stations: Program 1 is of a general nature, Program 2 is devoted to high culture, Program 3 for news, Polskie Radio EURO is aimed at young listeners and Radio Parliament broadcasts parliamentary sessions.
The most popular commercial stations are Warsaw-based Zet and Krakow's RMF FM offering listeners a varied selection of music from pop to rock and other contemporary styles. A few local stations broadcast the occasional English-language news bulletin, though if you want to hear more than a short bite of news in English you are going to have to track down the BBC World Service on a shortwave radio.
All the mainstream media outlets in Poland have their own websites so if you want to check out what's happening online (or if you can't survive in Poland without your fix of social networking!) most cities have a good selection of internet cafes. Many Poles still don't have internet in their homes so cafes offering high-speed internet connections are very popular. Prices are pretty reasonable so you should expect to pay around 3 zloty per hour (that's about 50 pence) but it does vary between cafes.