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Help: Poles Apart

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  • Jan
    Poles Apart the only Anglo/Polish program on BBC radio broadcast by BBC for Coventry and Warwickshire is to be closed by the station management on December
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 28, 2012
      "Poles Apart" the only Anglo/Polish program on BBC radio broadcast by BBC for Coventry and Warwickshire is to be closed by the station management on December 31st. Please see more on https://www.facebook.com/savepoles.apart . If you support our efforts to save the program please sign in as a driend thus supporting our petition to keep it on air and get your friends to sign
      programowi Poles Apart, jedynemu dwu jezycznemu programowi w radiu BBC grozi zamknieccie 31 grudnia przez dyrekcje stacji. Wiecej szczegolow na stronie facebooku https://facebook.com/savepoles.apart . Dolacz do nas by ocalic program stajac sie znajomy /przyjacielem strony

      Dr.& Mrs Jan Mokrzycki

      32 Brookside Avenue


      Warwicks. CV8 1ET


      Baron Patten of Barnes,                 and                             Mr. Mark Thompson

      Chairman of BBC Trust                                                       BBC Director General

      BBC Broadcasting House                                                   BBC Broadcasting House

      Portland Place                                                                     Portland Place

      London W1A 1AA                                                               London W1A 1AA




      The Polish community in the United Kingdom is now reckoned to be the third largest ethnic minority in the country. Though integrating with the host and other communities with surprising ease, it is none the less very proud of its language and culture, with Polish Saturday schools, where these are thought to youngsters, arising all over the country.

      The BBC's gesture towards that community so far has been one radio programme "Poles Apart", based at BBC for Coventry and Warwickshire, broadcast on a weekly basis for one hour. It is a magazine style, bilingual (Polish and English) programme, containing local news for the community as well as a mix of items of interest to Poles and about Poland and its culture and achievements. It is run on a voluntary, unpaid basis. Originally started in 1991 it was meant to reach the older generation, many of whom were house bound, with a taste of home in both word and music. Following Poland's accession to the EU it became much more important to the many new migrants, informing them of British law and custom and in general helping with their integration. In spite of frequent  changes to the day and time of the broadcast of the programme it continued in its popularity both locally and through the i player throughout the United Kingdom and in Poland itself. Over a year ago, due to changes in BBC's editorial policy we had to abandon broadcasting it live, so that it could be checked for possible offensive language or content. A little later came the next bombshell, with closure of the Polish section of BBC World service, the person who checked the programme was no longer employed by the BBC, so we were told we had to broadcast it in English only. Assured that this would be only a temporary measure, knowing the large number of Polish speakers employed by the BBC, some of whom told us privately that they would be happy to do the checking, we accepted this decision without much protest. Unfortunately and surprisingly this temporary period has now lasted six months, leading to a situation where it is we, the Polish volunteers who have to try and answer a stream of questions at every Polish event we attend, a difficult task as in fact we are left completely in the dark to what is happening.

      We now gather, that due to cost saving exercise by the BBC our programme is in danger of being closed all together. As we all work without pay the cost saving in our case would be miniscule whilst harm done by such a decision will be completely out of proportion.

      We see the logic in the Director General's proposals to limit the local output of the station to morning and early afternoon only and in view of that would propose two possible solutions to save the programme, with the proviso that it returns as soon as possible to its bilingual format:

      Either – program is broadcast on a one hour per week basis on a fixed day at any convenient time.

      Or – programme goes region or nationwide in an evening. We would be prepared still to do it on a voluntary basis, arrange to have local correspondents  in other centres etc. This would necessarily lead to slightly increased expenses but most of the work would still be done on a voluntary basis. At a meeting with the station managing editor we were told that he mentioned the idea of the program going regional at a meeting with the Head of Regional Programs, but that she was not interested. I am very surprised at this attitude which appears to totally ignore the large and vibrant Polish communities in the region.

      We have here a programme which is distinctive, targeted at a specific audience covering culture, sport, news and many other items, produced on a voluntary basis resulting in an extremely low cost, and a close connection with the community it serves, thus I very much hope that you Sir and the BBC trustees and management will see fit to save it.


      Yours faithfully,



      Dr Jan Mokrzycki

      Originator and still a contributor to the program

      Past President, Federation of Poles in Great Britain.

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