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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » June 3, 2009
Destination Warsaw
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Promoting Poland Abroad
June 3, 2009   
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Adam Burakowski, deputy director of the Polish Radio External Service, talks with Jolanta Wolska.

Why did the Polish Radio External Service join the Warsaw Destination Alliance?
As the name suggests, our External Service is directed at other countries, but for a while now we have also been concentrating on foreign communities living in Poland, particularly in Warsaw, but not exclusively. These communities, whose first language is other than Polish, are growing in our country; they include families, businessmen and foreigners working here from many countries. So they are now also our target group. We are developing our website www.thenews.pl, which brings Polish affairs in reach of expats living here. We provide information about things that affect them, as well as news about various areas of Polish life, including news about politics, the economy, international and local affairs and culture. So it is natural that we should join the WDA to promote a common objective.

Has the role of the External Service changed since it was established in 1936?
In general our mission has not changed. It is still focused on promoting Poland abroad, promoting Polish culture and various matters associated with Poland. Our main focus is on Eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic countries, as well as Russia, where we broadcast in Moscow. We started the Hebrew section two years ago, where we try to present an image of Poland that is little known in some quarters, that is that Poland is a normal country and not just where German Nazis established concentration camps on Polish soil during World War II. We attempt to show that normal people live in Poland, people who are open to different cultures and who welcome foreigners, invite them to visit to spend an interesting time here and also to do business.

Are there plans to increase the number of languages in which the Service broadcasts?
Today we broadcast in seven languages: Polish, English, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, German and Hebrew. Although at present we do not have plans to expand into other languages, we may in the future.

How many English speakers listen to the External Service and what are their demographics?
This sort of research is hard to conduct. We only know how many people visit our website and from which countries. It is quite a sizable group. It is interesting that lately more people from Poland have been visiting our website. We work with various organizations in Poland, for example the Indian community. We want to increase these contacts and be an attractive medium for these people. We also have reports that Poles abroad, particularly those who in recent times went to Britain, want to show their British friends what is happening in Poland and use our service for this purpose. Also, some of our listeners are locals who are learning English.

Has your budget been cut as a result of recent cost saving measures?
Generally, we are doing everything so as not to reduce the quality of our programs, and we think we are successful at it. We believe that economic, political and social news is most important to our listeners. We are concentrating in this area and that will be our major focus.

How else do you promote tourism to Poland?
We broadcast special tourist programs, Around Poland, in our English section, where we present parts of Poland that are unique.

How do you plan to promote Warsaw?
We want to promote, in our English section in particular, entertainment and cultural events that are happening in Warsaw. We specially want to focus on those events where the English language is involved, a language in which many cultures and nationalities communicate. These events are on the increase in Warsaw and we try to inform about them as widely as possible. The promotion of Warsaw also promotes Poland, and that is one of our most important priorities. We will definitely be increasing this area of our activities and we will be broadening our www.thenews.pl website.
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