In Poland we have about five percent of non-believers, which is about two million people. Moreover, we have a handful of humanist and freethinker organizations as well as some magazines. The biggest of them appears in about two thousand copies every second month. The magazines are: a periodical „Bez Dogmatu" (Without a dogma) (one of the editors, Andrzej Dominiczak, is present at this conference), the biggest periodical „Res Humana" and „Forum Myśli Wolnej" (Forum of free thought). Polish humanists do not have any access to public radio and TV and no private radio or TV stations see any interest in broadcasting humanist programmmes.
Humanist activists have also created websites. The most successful is racjonalista.pl (The Rationalist), visited by about fifteen thousand people daily. This makes the website racjonalista.pl the biggest humanist medium in Poland. It provides information and articles on humanist values and purposes, philosophical topics, religion and churches as well as on science and human rights. It is also a forum for discussion on different life stances and points of view. Racjonalista is also the biggest humanist virtual library in the Polish language. This website, started six years ago by Mariusz Agnosiewicz, in that time student of law, makes an important contribution to the propagation of humanist values in Polish society. It is also a virtual place where Polish humanists can meet other non-believers. In this way they can receive support and break isolation, which is often a big problem for those who live in the countryside and small towns.
Polish humanist activists and journalists find also other ways to popularize our points of view and values. Three left-wing magazines collaborate with humanist associations or media.
One of them is the 15-year old magazine „Nie" (No) with about a hundred thousand copies sold every week. It is a satirical anticlerical political weekly with a strong presence of human rights subjects, created mostly by non-believers in collaboration with some humanist authors and journalists.
There is also another weekly, „Przegląd" (Review), with thirty thousand sold copies, which several months ago started a close collaboration with the editorial staff of the aforementioned humanist quarterly „Bez dogmatu" (Without a dogma). They not only give free publicity to this humanist review, but also invite its authors to write articles and make interviews with humanist activists and philosophers. As far as I know, a group of journalists will soon produce a special supplement with humanist subjects for „Przegląd".
And, finally, the last example of collaboration of large-circulation newspapers with humanist circles: it is the „Fakty i Mity" (Facts and myths) weekly, for which I work as the coordinator in the editorial staff. We sell about seventy thousand copies. In this political and anticlerical review there is a permanent presence of humanist subjects. We have a permanent humanist series of articles, interviews or columns. For example, until recently, for over three years we had a small weekly interview with professor Maria Szyszkowska, a humanist philosopher, author and politician. She is probably the most publicly known figure in the humanist circles in Poland. For the last three years we also have had a column „Life after religion", which presents the subject of life stances and rationalist critique of religions. Two years ago our review invited professor Joanna Senyszyn, a left-wing openly atheist politician involved in promoting the respect of human rights in Poland, and she writes an interesting column every week. I highlight „open atheist" here because in Polish public life it is not easy to admit one is a non-believer.
„Fakty i Mity" also has a permanent presence of Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender subjects, probably the most intensive one among Polish large-circulation reviews. We stared the battle for LGBT rights five years ago, when the subject was not popular in the media and when even left-wing big media did not offer clear support to sexual minorities.
As a small conclusion I can state that — in my opinion — effective and well-tried ways to make humanist subjects and points of views visible are the Internet and collaboration with friendly large-circulation magazines. I hope our Polish experience can be a source of ideas how to reach a bigger public.
1st Baltic Humanist Conference — Stockholm (10-12 November 2006) organised by Humanisterna (Swedish Humanist Association), in cooperation with the Norwegian Humanist Association.
(Last change: 11-02-2007)