Polish MPs examine planned changes to public media
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish MPs on Thursday started examining a bill submitted by the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) that proposes sweeping changes to the country’s public media.
Poland's lower house of parliament. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/K. Czerwińska
The legislation, undergoing its first reading, would see TVP (Polish Television), Polskie Radio (Polish Radio) and PAP (the Polish Press Agency) from July 1 becoming “national” outlets focusing on their public mission.
The heads of the new-look media would be chosen by a six-person National Media Council elected by the lower house of parliament, the Senate and the president for a six-year term.
Among the nominees elected by the lower house, one place is to be legally guaranteed for a candidate from the largest opposition caucus.
Planned changes include replacing the current licence fee with a new “audiovisual fee” of PLN 12 (USD 3, EUR 2.7) or PLN 15 a month, to be added to Poles’ electricity bills from 1 January .
The plans have been criticised by the opposition, which has voiced fears the public media will be pressured to serve the interests of the conservative Law and Justice party, which swept to power in October.
But Deputy Culture Minister Krzysztof Czabański, of PiS, earlier said the new legislation "guarantees the full independence of the public media, of journalists, freedom of speech, [and] guarantees a solid financial foundation."
He added that the government “will be completely cut off from any influence in terms of organizational and personnel issues on the public media."
The opposition Civic Platform party has drawn up its own, alternative, bill proposing that the public media should be financed directly from state coffers. (pk)