Fired state TV chief’s World Bank job shocks many in Poland

Dec 6, 2022, 7:21 PM | Updated: Dec 7, 2022, 9:31 am

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The former head of Poland’s state broadcaster said Wednesday that he now has a job at the World Bank, spurring disbelief in the European Union country where he is known for turning the news channel into a propaganda tool for the right-wing government.

Kurski, who has no finance experience, said on Twitter that he has been named an alternate executive director — one of 25 at the 189-country anti-poverty agency — and is giving up “some of (his) political activity and political ambitions.”

“I have always thought that there is no life outside politics. Well, there is,” Kurski tweeted.

The World Bank has no influence on the choice of representatives proposed by governments, the organization’s press office said by email. Critics had some harsh words about the appointment.

“In a move that defies parody, the Polish government is sending Jacek Kurski, the man who turned state TV into an extremist, homophobic, propaganda channel, to the World Bank. Nobody is more unqualified,” journalist and writer Anne Applebaum tweeted.

Economist and commentator Piotr Kuczynski said the news was “shocking” given Kurski’s lack of experience in banking.

In September, the 56-year-old Kurski was unexpectedly fired as head of government-controlled broadcaster TVP, which during his tenure was spreading far-right, homophobic and anti-European Union views.

Now, Kurski is employed with the Office of Executive Director representing nine European and Central Asian countries on one of the decision-making bodies for the World Bank Group. Those countries are: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Poland, Serbia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

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Fired state TV chief’s World Bank job shocks many in Poland