“Terrorists” reads the headline in today’s Fakt (in English: Fact – I present this information without a trace of irony). Beneath it are photographs of the terrorists in question: about half a dozen doctors, who are on strike at the moment in Poland (80 hospitals out). The tabloid whips itself into the usual frenzy of self righteousness.
The good doctors are not making any friends by opening for (private) business in the afternoons but are they really as heartless as they are made out to be? Dziennik reported on the front page on the 23rd (the headline that day merely accused the doctors of manipulating children and blackmail) on the plight of little Marcel (14 months), who had been turned away from a clinic. Today’s Dziennik has an interview (this time on page 19) with Dr. Krzysztof Bukiel, of the trade union organising the strike, who points out that little Marcel had already waited a month for the appointment, the implication clearly being that lack of state investment was responsible for a far longer delay in treatment than the strike. Bukiel explains: “we’re being called criminals because patients’ visits are being postponed by two weeks while people forget that the patients have been queueing for six months.”
It’s not just the government (which had warning of the strikes) that has more important priorities than public health. Fakt’s “terrorists” headline appears on its back page: the front page is taken up with the pope’s visit to Poland. Dziennik devotes its first ten pages to Papa Ratz.