Telewizja Solidarnosc (lost footage of Polish television hijack; 1985)

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The screenshot of the television hijack in Torun.

Status: Lost

The Telewizja Solidarność was a television sabotage that occurred on September 14th, 1985 in Torun, Poland. The television hijack was committed by a group of astronomers from the University of Torun together with the underground independent self-governing trade union "Solidarność" (Solidarity).


In 1985 a group of astronomers headed by Jan Hanasz from the University of Torun constructed the complex device to interrupt the television broadcast with a ZX Spectrum computer, Sanyo monitor, TV set, cables and antennas. The TV set was used to extract the sync pulses from the TVP video signal so that the ZX Spectrum could be genlocked to it. After each horizontal sync pulse, one line would be sent to the transmitter.

Before starting they transmitted to TVP some simple shapes. After that during the broadcast of the Polish news "Dziennik," they transmitted the message "Dość podwyżek cen, kłamstw i represji. Solidarność Toruń" ("Enough price increases, lies, and repressions. Solidarity Toruń") with the Solidarity logo. After they repeated it during the episode of the Polish soap opera "07 zgłoś się", but another message that was written as "Bojkot wyborów naszym obowiązkiem. Solidarność Toruń" ("It is our duty to boycott the election. Solidarity Toruń").[1]

The effectiveness depended a lot on the alignment with the two transmitters. If the two signals weren't aligned properly then the message would appear off-center to various degrees depending on the timing, possibly even interfering with the synchronization signals. It was reported that the brightness of the image would also constantly go up and down, likely due to the frequency being slightly off. [2]

The broadcast interruption was carried out from Jan's house, so he and three organizers were arrested in September 1985. They were sentenced in January 1986 to 1-year imprisonment suspended for 3 years.[3]

At the moment there is only a rough reconstruction of this television hijack that was made on Marth 7th, 2007, by user "4kwadra."



"Telewizja Solidarność" reconstruction.


See Also