YouTube Broadcasting Helps Polish Central Bank Governor Hit Back at Critics

(Bloomberg) -- Poland’s central bank governor, Adam Glapinski, has taken to social media to set the record straight on the controversy surrounding his policies. His latest venture is a daily broadcast on a dedicated YouTube channel.

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Starting this week, the National Bank of Poland is featuring a six-hour segment about the $700 billion economy. The channel’s more than 5,000 subscribers as of Thursday make up a respectable viewership for programming devoted to inflationary trends, money supply and the trajectory of interest rates.

But the common thread is the defense of Glapinski, an ally of the former ruling nationalists who has come under fire from Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s coalition over the alleged politicization of his office and disregard for procedures. A parliamentary probe, which is getting under way, may eventually lead to his suspension or ouster.

Glapinski has consistently denied the accusations.

The format for the central bank program is understated. The studio backdrop includes cardboard boxes and a shelf of books and knick-knacks. The governor’s advisers and staff discuss issues over a table strewn with glasses, a chess board and apparently gold bars used as paperweights.

In a segment that aired on Wednesday, one of Glapinski’s advisers, Leon Podkaminer, ascribes a forecast for increased inflation in the second half to the “ill will” of Tusk’s finance minister following a move to lift energy price caps.

“Let’s look at what a great success the Polish economy has achieved, especially in reducing inflation, thanks to our beloved governor,” Podkaminer tells viewers of the channel, which is run by the central bank’s publishing-and-broadcasting outfit, Obserwator Finansowy.

An Embattled Figure

The broadcast stands out even as central banks globally have deployed social media to reach out directly to citizens. The US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank all have YouTube channels of their own, but use them mainly to carry live press conferences and air educational features.

Glapinski is no stranger to controversial communication. Last year, the central bank put up a billboard spanning the facade of its Warsaw headquarters, which said that the critics of its monetary policy were spreading Russian propaganda.

The governor has a penchant for lashing out at critical coverage of his decisions. Following an unexpectedly outsize rate cut last year that sent the currency tumbling, he said the majority of Polish media were in the hands of foreign capital and accused them of acting in bad faith.

“They want to harm Poland and they lie,” he told a news conference on Oct. 5. “They just lie around the clock.”

Glapinski has become an embattled figure since the nationalist Law & Justice party, which promoted him for the role, unexpectedly lost power last year. He often touts the central bank’s independence from politicians and has grown reluctant to cutting rates despite inflation slowing to the target.

A lot of airtime on the central bank’s YouTube channel, called OF TV, is spent on criticizing Tusk’s cabinet and European Union policies, while downplaying the Glapinski investigation.

When announcing the launch earlier in June, the governor said the channel would air views from “the best people in central banking, finance and the finest economic experts.”

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