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European journalists concerned at Polish media law

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 16.12.2015 12:15
The European Federation of Journalists has voiced “growing concerns” at plans by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party to tighten the law on public media.
Piotr Gliński. Photo: Piotr Drabik (CC BY 2.0)
Piotr Gliński. Photo: Piotr Drabik (CC BY 2.0)

The aim of the plans by PiS, which came to power in October elections and which champions traditional, Catholic values, is to exert more control on public service broadcasting media and to “repolonise” print media, the federation said.

“The government must maintain an arm’s length principle to ensure the editorial freedom of the media,” Mogens Blicher Bjerregard, the federation’s president warned.

“Editorial independence is essential for both public and private media in any democratic society. The government should be careful not to deviate from this essential principle in its media reform,” he added.

Andrzej Bilik, of the Journalists’ Association of the Republic of Poland (SDRP), an affiliate of the European Federation of Journalists, said a “witch hunt” has started in Polish public television.

“The names of critical journalists are already being mentioned who should disappear from the screen.”

A presenter for Polish public broadcaster TVP was recently suspended after an interview with deputy Prime Minister and Culture Minister Piotr Gliński, during which she questioned him in a heated exchange about his decision to try to prevent a controversial theatre production from being shown.

Gliński accused the TVP INFO channel of hosting “a propaganda programme”, arguing that the station had been “manipulating” public opinion for years.

The journalist, Karolina Lewicka, was later allowed to return to work. (pk)

tags: media, PiS
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