Radio Maryja is a religious and political socially conservative Polish radio station. It was founded in Toruń, Poland, on December 9,1991, by the Redemptorist Tadeusz Rydzyk, the Radio Maryja Family is a Roman Catholic movement led by Father Rydzyk. The name Maryja is a traditional Polish form of the name Mary and it takes positions against feminism, gay rights, the “Islamisation” of Europe, Middle Eastern refugees and the EU, and promotes social conservatism. The station is owned by the Warsaw Province of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and this is an unusual characteristic in Poland, where most radio stations are either publicly funded or dependent on advertising revenue. Due to a concordat with the Vatican that grants certain privileges to the Church, thus, Radio Maryja is not required to disclose the exact sources of its financing or enterprises, and does not pay taxes. Radio Maryja has disclosed that it is financed by Jan Kobylański, a Uruguay-based billionaire and by Edward Moskal, Fr Rydzyk denounced the verdict, calling it an injustice and claiming that Polish law ran contrary to natural law. To date, he has refused to pay the fine, the district court of Toruń requested that the police investigate her action. Later in 2012 Radio Maryja was fined by the National Broadcasting Council for “hidden advertising”, Radio Maryjas audience is reputed to consist mostly of rural and elderly listeners. The station claims that it has millions of listeners, market research indicates approximately 1.2 million people daily. The station estimates that it is listened to by well over 10% of adults in Poland and this once had huge clout, articulating the feelings of Poles alienated by the countrys brisk, materialist business culture and the decay in moral norms. But Radio Maryjas audience has shrunk in the past decade to no more than 2% of all current listeners, the station has gathered committed listeners, the Radio Maryja Family. As of November 2006, the Radio Maryja Family network had hundreds of clubs, Radio Maryja Family holds a pilgrimage to Częstochowa every year, which in 2006 attracted about 500,000 people. While the conventional greeting in the Roman Catholic Church is, Praised be Jesus Christ, Radio Maryja sparked many controversies and is frequently being criticized both in Poland and abroad. The Vatican expressed concern over the station, with the Episcopate of Poland warning Radio Maryja about engaging in political broadcasting, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz of Kraków and the countrys then Primate, Cardinal Józef Glemp, have urged fellow bishops to take immediate action against the station. In 2002, the Primate ordered Radio Maryja to close its operations in his archdiocese, press commentators suggested that a schism could occur, but a group of Polish bishops rejected those speculations, which they said bore no relation to reality. In 2005, Cardinal Józef Glemp said that Radio Maryja was causing a rift in the Church and he also warned of sanctions against activity “considered unlawful or damaging to the Church”. Pope Benedict XVI warned Radio Maryja to quit engaging in politics, however, the Polish bishops remain divided over Radio Maryja, given its considerable influence among its primary audience of the elderly rural poor. While some bishops have criticized Radio Maryja for spreading opinions incompatible with the teaching of the Catholic Church
Image: Radio Maryja 1
The Radio Maryja headquarters are housed in a modern building amid gardens on the outskirts of Toruń.