Front page of a September 2006 edition
|Owner(s)||Axel Springer AG|
|Political alignment||Centrist, populist|
History and profile
Fakt was launched in October 2003 by the Polish outlet of the German publishing company Axel Springer AG, Axel Springer Polska, and modeled on Springer's German tabloid Bild, the biggest-selling newspaper in Europe. Like its German counterpart Bild, Fakt is characterised by its downmarket, often sensationalist journalism with a populist appeal. However, politically it is by and large centrist. Then the paper supported former prime minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz's policies; Marcinkiewicz also regularly contributes invited comments. Other regular contributors of op-ed pieces include Tomasz Lis, a prominent television journalist with political ambitions, TVN anchorman Kamil Durczok, and former Rzeczpospolita columnist Maciej Rybiński.
Untypically for a tabloid and in contrast to its usual content, Fakt has a weekly supplement entitled Europa which contains highbrow (non-original) essays by scholars and public intellectuals, which in 2006 have included Niall Ferguson, Francis Fukuyama, Jürgen Habermas, and Robert Kagan.
The circulation of Fakt was 715,000 copies in 2003, making it the best selling newspaper in the country.
Response from competitors
Within a short time, Fakt replaced the upmarket to middle-market Gazeta Wyborcza as Poland's biggest-selling newspaper, also putting pressure on Super Express, until then the only national tabloid. Gazeta Wyborcza's publisher Agora S.A. responded with the (failed) launch of a distinct middle-market paper Nowy Dzień to compete directly with Fakt.
When Fakt was launched at a price of 1 Polish złoty, Super Express 's publisher MediaExpress accused Springer of dumping its daily at a cover-price lower than its production costs. Having lost the lawsuit against Springer, MediaExpress reduced the price of Super Express to Fakt's level.
Like Bild and other tabloid press products, Fakt has been subjected to criticism concerning its style of journalism from media watchdogs. Twice so far, the Association of Polish Journalists awarded Fakt with its "Hyena Of The Year" award for "particular unscrupulousness and neglect of the principles of the journalistic work ethic": In 2004, Fakt had published a photograph showing the nude dead body of a murder victim; in 2005 it had published the photo of an innocent person with the caption "This sex offender is at large".
- "Editor of Poland's leading paper says tabloids are friendly, independent and explicit". Editors Weblog. 1 June 2004. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "The press in Poland". BBC. 29 April 2004. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- David H. Weaver; Lars Willnat (2012). The Global Journalist in the 21st Century. Routledge. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-415-88576-8. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "World Press Trends". Paris: World Association of Newspapers. 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
- Official website in Polish