Learn more about Rzeczpospolita (newspaper)
|Owner||Presspublica Sp. z o.o.|
Rzeczpospolita (Poland's large nationwide daily newspapers, with a circulation of 260-270,000 and an estimated readership of 1.3 million. The title may be rendered as "The Republic", but see Rzeczpospolita for more about this word.) is one of
Issued every day except Sunday, Rzeczpospolita is printed in broadsheet format and maintains a more elitist and "deadpan" image than, e.g., its stronger liberal rival Gazeta Wyborcza, which is of compact size and also incorporate elements of the yellow press. Rzeczpospolita's political profile is moderately conservative and arguably comparable to that of The Times in Britain. It does not favour any particular party within Poland's present political landscape, although it shares some views of the centrist to right of center party Platforma Obywatelska (Citizens Platform).
A striking feature is the paper's division into three thematic sections with a distinct colour for each: The main news section is white, the business section is green, the legal section is yellow. Apart from these daily sections, there are several supplements appearing once or twice per week, such as cars and real estate, careers, TV, travel. On Saturdays, the paper is supplemented with a section entitled PlusMinus for essays on politics, history, and culture, often invited from well-known authors, which reflect a broad spectrum of opinions.
In addition to comprehensive daily legal and financial reports, Rzeczpospolita frequently publishes rankings on companies, institutions and government authorities, and claims to be most influential newspaper among Polish economic elites and political decision-makers.
The first newspaper of that title started to be published in 1920. Initially an organ of rightist Christian-National Party, with time it became an independent newspaper owned by Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Wojciech Korfanty, two notable politicians of the epoch. The editor in chief, Stanisław Stroński maintained a high level of quality of texts, mostly thanks to a large group of collaborators. Among them were Adolf Nowaczyński, Kornel Makuszyński and Władysław Witwicki. Despite its popularity, the newspaper had to be sold to the „Dom Prasy Katolickiej” (House of Catholic Press) in 1930 and two years afterwards it was merged with a right-wing „Polak-Katolik” daily published by the Catholic Church.
Although it may seem unlikely given the Rzeczpospolita's present profile, the direct predecessor of modern Rzeczpospolita was an eponymous communist government paper which first appeared in July 1944, when a Soviet-led administration was established behind the lines of the Soviet Army advancing against the erstwhile Nazi German occupying forces. As the Polish population's attitude was vehemently anti-communist, the new government newspaper consciously adopted the name Rzeczpospolita, which had previously been the name of the right-wing "Christian National Party", in an attempt to establish more legitimacy. Headed by Jerzy Borejsza, in fact it was an organ of the Polish Committee of National Liberation. After the founding of the Polish United Workers' Party in 1949, which edited its own central organ as Trybuna Ludu ("People's Tribune"), the two newspapers appeared parallel to each other for some two years. In 1950, Rzeczpospolita was discontinued as the co-existence of a party and government newspaper was considered unnecessary within a consolidated one-party state.
By 1980, this situation had changed. The state was in crisis, and the Party's image had been damaged beyond repair. This inspired the idea to relaunch a separate government newspaper in an attempt to emphasise the fact that the state as an entity was officially independent from the Party (even though this independence was, of course, largely fictitious within a communist state). Thus, from 1982 onwards, Rzeczpospolita and Trybuna Ludu resumed their parallel existence as official bulletins of the government and the Party apparatus respectively.
This dualism corresponded to the situation in the Soviet Union, where the government newspaper Izvestia functioned alongside the Party's Pravda, and where Izvestia has steered a course strikingly similar to Rzeczpospolita's in the 1990s.
After the 1989 revolution, the new Polish government released Rzeczpospolita into independence in 1991, forming a Franco-Polish joint venture named Presspublica S.A. to publish the paper. In 1996, the Norwegian Orkla Media corporation acquired a 51% share in Presspublica, and is now in joint control of a quarter of the entire Polish press landscape.
From 1989 until his death in 1996, the well-known journalist Dariusz Fikus was the first editor-in-chief of the independent Rzeczpospolita, followed by Piotr Aleksandrowicz (1996-2000), Maciej Łukasiewicz (2000-2004), Grzegorz Gauden (2004-2006), and Paweł Lisicki (since September 2006).
In early 2005, Rzeczpospolita found itself at the very centre of a heated public debate, after one of its employees, the former dissident and journalist Bronisław Wildstein, abstracted a list with the names of 240,000 informers and victims of the communist secret police from the Institute of National Remembrance and distributed it among colleagues. In the wake of the incident, Wildstein was dismissed from Rzeczpospolita (cf. the article Wildstein's List in the Polish Wikipedia).