Television program causes storm in Poland

Polish television network severely criticized for program presenting challenges of those making opposite journey - from Germany to Iraq.

Guy Cohen ,

אולפני TVN
אולפני TVN

Directors of Polish television network TVN are hearing harsh criticism of the Return to Where you Came From reality TV program that presents competitors taking the opposite path of immigrants - from Germany to Iraq.

The program presents six Polish citizens who are told to take the opposite path from the immigrants who entered the European continent in recent years with only a passport, a cell phone, and very little money in their pockets.

Six competitors in the program scheduled to air in coming months will leave for Germany, where they will continue to Austria, Hungary, Serbia, and Greece, where they board a ship and cross the Mediterranean until they eventually reach their final destination - northern Iraq.

The new program has already stirred up a storm in Poland and other European countries before reaching the airwaves, after many criticized it as a program that "tries to make profits at the expense of the immigrants' suffering."

However, Polish TVN network heads deny it was a cynical exploitation of immigrants' suffering for profit and defined the program as "documentary rather than reality".

Bogdan Chaya, one of the leaders of TVN, said that "the six competitors will have to live like refugees for nearly a month. We're aware this is a politically sensitive and controversial issue, but we're confident the program will help spark a better dialogue on the issue."

Piotr Kreszko, a Polish journalist who accompanied the six competitors on their way from Germany to Iraq, said that despite harsh criticism of the plan's producers, it was not a program designed to generate profits at the expense of the immigrants' suffering.

"I don't think anyone would have created or participated in the program if he thought it was unethical. The refugee issue is one of the most important issues currently under discussion. In the last part of the journey, the six competitors met in refugee camps in northern Iraq with people who fled from ISIS and heard the horror stories," Kershko said.