New TV channel for Poles in Lithuania launches in May

On Thursday, the chairman of the public TVP broadcaster Jacek Kurski and deputy FM Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk signed an agreement on cooperation in the creation and distribution of a new channel dedicated to Polish people living in the Vilnius region of Lithuania, which will be called TVP Wilno (Vilnius).

The channel will be launched in early May, and, in a wider formula, in the autumn.

"It will serve to maintain national identity and support the activity of Poles living in Lithuania," the deputy FM said during the press briefing.

The agreement is the result of many years of cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and TVP in the field of ​​creating a broadcasting schedule of TVP Polonia and other channels in Polish and other languages ​​for recipients abroad.

"The issues of the Polish diasporas abroad are of fundamental importance and are a priority for the current government of Poland," Mr Szynkowski stated. "Our compatriots living in the Vilnius region are important partners and at the centre of promoting Polish culture and memory,” he added.

The TVP Wilno channel also has a bilateral dimension. Young journalists from the Polish community in Lithuania were invited to take part in the new venture.

In the initial phase of the project, the channel is scheduled to broadcast a fifteen-minute news programme in Polish every day, aimed at local audiences, as well as two journalistic programmes per week.

Jacek Kurski said that there are groups of Poles, for which TVP Polonia itself is not enough.

“Poles living in Lithuania are such a group. This is not just a Polish minority, it is not just a diaspora. These are Poles who have always lived in this area, and found themselves in territories or within other countries, because the boundaries have moved. They are where they have always been,” he stated.

Mr Kurski added that for TVP, "it has always been a challenge" to do for Poles in Lithuania "something more than just rebroadcast the TVP Polonia channel".