New media rules planned amid Polish political crisis
PR dla Zagranicy
The Speaker of Poland’s upper house has said that by 6 January he will put forward a new set of proposed changes for media access to the Polish parliament amid a political crisis.
The Speaker of Poland's upper house of parliament, Stanisław Karczewski, at a press conference after his meeting with journalists. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka.
Media access to the legislature is an issue that sparked four consecutive days of protests and plunged the country into political turmoil. Opposition MPs have since Friday been staging a sit-in in parliament’s plenary hall.
Senate Speaker Stanisław Karczewski’s announcement came after he met journalists on Monday to discuss the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government’s planned new rules for the media.
Karczewski said his proposal will be consulted publicly with the press, while for now current rules will continue to apply, the IAR news wire reported.
Under the government’s original plans, most journalists would not be given access to the main parliament building.
Instead, they would be restricted to a separate building to conduct interviews and each organisation would be allowed two permanent parliamentary correspondents.
PiS MPs earlier said such rules would be similar to those in many other parliaments around the world. But critics said they would hit the freedom of the press.
At present, journalists are allowed access to almost every part of the parliament building. The governing party feels that the media bustle interferes with the day-to-day proceedings of MPs.
When an opposition MP raised the issue of new media rules during a parliamentary debate on Friday, the Speaker of the lower house, Marek Kuchciński, excluded the deputy from debate.
Opposition MPs then stormed the rostrum, blocking proceedings.
Following several hours of recess, deputies from the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party convened in an ancillary hall and passed next year’s budget. Opposition MPs have said that the vote, carried out by a raising of hands, was illegal, and should be repeated. But MPs from Law and Justice insisted the ballot was legal.
Opposition MPs have since Friday staged a sit-in in parliament’s plenary hall while protestors have taken to the streets in Poland in support of the deputies. (vb/pk)