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New Polish Media Bill Catches the Eye of the BBC, AEJ, and EFJ.
New polish media bill catches the eye of the BBC, AEJ, and EFJ.
In the month of October this year the PiS (Law and Justice party) of poland gained enough voters to govern alone according to BBC news. They are the first party to achieve this since the restoration of democracy in 1989.
On December 29th 2015 a new bill was that would re-designate The public service broadcasters (TVP) and Polish radio as “national cultural institutions”. Giving the government the power to appoint or dismiss media executives. The EFJ responded on the 30th saying:
"The undersigned press freedom and media organisations – European Federation of Journalists (EFJ),European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Association of European Journalists (AEJ), Reporters Without Borders(RSF) and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) – are outraged by the proposed bill, hastily introduced by the majority party in Poland yesterday (29 December) for immediate adoption, without any consultation, abolishing the existing safeguards for pluralism and independence of public service media governance in Poland.
The introduction of a system whereby a government minister can appoint and dismiss at its own discretion the supervisory and management boards goes against basic principles and established standards of public service media governance throughout Europe. If the Polish Parliament passes these measures, which may happen today (30 December), Poland will create a regressive regime which will be without precedent in any other EU country.”
The AEJ (Association of European Journalists) responded with an open letter in hope of changing the reforms stating:
“The AEJ is deeply concerned that that the proposed reforms, if implemented, would effectively bring public service television and radio under the direct control of the government, involve the dismissal of respected journalists for political reasons, and lead to a systematic editorial bias in the content of PBS broadcasts in favour of the present government.
Our fears have been raised by public ministerial comments suggesting that the management board of the key public broadcasting organisations may in future be chosen in a such a way that it represents exclusively the priorities and wishes of the Law and Justice Party, and that journalists who question or criticise government policies and actions may be arbitrarily dismissed. We consider that the government’s announced intention to adopt such fundamental changes within a matter of just a few weeks shows excessive haste and a worrying lack of moderation and transparency in a matter of vital concern to the general public.
Our confidence is further undermined by your government’s hasty action in forcing through parliament a law containing changes to the system of appointing judges and other measures that threaten to undermine the independence of Poland’s Constitutional Court, so watering down or removing necessary checks on the government’s power.”
As of now The amendments need approval from the senate and the president of Poland Andrzej Duda. The European commission as of now demanded that the new rules be postponed and will review the situation on Jan. 13.