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Polish MPs urge gov't to restore impartiality of public media

20.12.2023 07:00
Polish lawmakers have passed a resolution calling on the government to "restore the impartiality and credibility of public media," in line with their "constitutional role."  
Polands lower house in session on Tuesday, December 19, 2023.
Poland's lower house in session on Tuesday, December 19, 2023.X/Polish Sejm

MPs passed the resolution in a 244-84 vote, with 16 abstentions, on Tuesday night, state news agency PAP reported.

The resolution, sponsored by the co-governing Civic Coalition (KO), the Polish People's Party (PSL), the Poland 2050 group and the Left party, urged the government to "take immediate measures" to ensure that public media "provide citizens with credible, impartial information" and operate "according to the constitution."

The resolution applies to state-run television broadcaster TVP, public broadcaster Polish Radio and the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

During a floor debate, the Civic Coalition's Bogdan Zdrojewski said that, under the previous conservative government, state media "took one side of the public debate, violating journalistic standards," the PAP news agency reported.

Zdrojewski said the new governing coalition sought to ensure public broadcasters "are objective, credible and inclusive."

Meanwhile, Krzysztof Szczucki from the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party said the resolution represented "an attack on free media" and an attempt to "bypass the law."

Senior Law and Justice MPs skipped the vote, instead taking part in a rally outside TVP headquarters "in defence of the independence of Polish TV," according to reports.

In attendance were party leader Jarosław Kaczyński, former Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak and party spokesman Rafał Bochenek, among others.

Meanwhile, President Andrzej Duda issued a letter to parliamentary Speaker Szymon Hołownia, stating that "the public varies in its assessment of the performance of public media."

The president added that while the parliamentary majority had a "right to make changes in the legal system," the planned measures concerning public broadcasters "must comply with democratic standards and be carried out in line with the constitution," the PAP news agency reported.

Hołownia told reporters that he "agreed with the president's letter" and that any measures taken in relation to public media would be "within the bounds of the law."  

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the government would seek to "work with the president and the opposition" to draft a bill to restore the impartiality of public media outlets.


Source: IAR, PAP, Polsat News