Polish state TVP is a multi-channel operation. One of its channels is TVP World which ws set up as a counterweight to Russian propaganda in Central and Eastern Europe EPA-EFE/Leszek Szymanski


Poland: Sacked pro-Putin journalist says he has nothing to hide


A journalist sacked from Poland’s English-language news channel TVP World after giving interviews to Russian portal Sputnik and praising President Vladimir Putin says he was simply doing his job.

Adriel Kasonta said he had not hidden his  views, worked at the channel only briefly and received no complaints about his work while there.

Kasonta was employed by TVP World in the spring as a reporter before some staff members alerted the channel’s hierarchy about what they had uncovered about him online. Kasonta’s contract was hurriedly dissolved.

In an interview he gave to Sputnik in February 2023, he praised Putin’s policies and called him a “remarkable” and “outstanding” leader when commenting on the Russian President’s “State of the Union” address earlier that year.

“My personal impression from President Vladimir Putin’s speech is that he proved again that he’s a remarkable, I would say, outstanding leader of his people and his country by delivering this well-rounded speech” he said.

Kasonta also referred to the war in Ukraine.

“President Vladimir Putin made a very clear statement that Russia under his rule doesn’t want to fight with Ukraine or any other country, but Russia doesn’t want to be subjugated or be used or manipulated by external actors,” he said.

“Perhaps that was an allusion to the United States and its hegemonic appetite.”

In February this year in another interview with Sputnik, he called NATO a “relic of the past” and was supportive of the views Putin conveyed in an earlier interview with US TV host Tucker Carlson.

Kasonta told Brussels Signal on June 12 that he had not been told why his contract with TVP World was terminated and had just days before that been informed he was “in line for promotion”.

“All I got from them was contact that they can no longer employ me and my line manager told me that it was not his decision”, said Kasonta.

When asked about his views, Kasonta said: “Everyone has a constitutional right to hold views and I as an analyst have a right to make my judgement.

“Moreover, I have never hidden my views, they are all there on the internet for everyone to read. I have made no attempt to hide my conservative views.

“I was hired as a reporter and that was the job I did to the best of my abilities and received no complaints for the content I produced or the way I went about my work.”

He also confirmed that he had been hired for the job with the channel after he “answered a public advertisement from the broadcaster several months ago but had finally been hired in the spring of this year”.

Information available online that his employer could have easily accessed makes clear his connections to Conservative circles and the ‘peace movement’, which opposes giving more military aid to Ukraine and calls for negotiations with Russia.

Kasonta has written and researched widely for, among others, Chinese media and the Cato Institute.

Some staff members at TVP World believe that his hiring was a serious mistake by the management of the channel.

One unnamed member of staff told Brussels Signal: “It’s extraordinary, we have Ukrainians and Belarusians working in this building and one of our own staff has been shot at by the Russians in Ukraine and suddenly we find that someone who openly supports what Russia is doing was working in our newsroom.

“It certainly made people uncomfortable and does ask questions about how people are hired around here.”

Our source alleged that the issue had raised security concerns. “What was a guy with such strongly pro-Russian views doing applying for and taking up a post on a Polish State TV channel, which has reported extensively on Russian war crimes in Ukraine – collecting information on people who work here?”

Still, the same source acknowledged that Kasonta was not hiding his views and that there was no evidence he had been attempting to force through any agenda of his own during his brief stay at TVP World.

The Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk recently announced the creation of the commission to investigate the scope of Russians influence in the country, including influence in the media. The Conservatives (PiS) opposition have claimed that it could be used to attack its members.

The PiS set up a similar body when in power that was alleged to have been created to target then-opposition leader Tusk and was dissolved by the incoming government.

TVP World’s director Michał Broniatowski was contacted by Brussels Signal on June 8 and asked about how Kasonta had been hired and whether he expected his channel to be investigated by the Polish Government’s commission on Russian influence. He refused to comment on the matter.

TVP World was created in 2021 as part of the Conservatives (PiS) then-government’s efforts to counter Russian propaganda in Central and Eastern Europe. The majority of its funding is from the Polish foreign affairs ministry.