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Council of Europe invites Poland to consult its experts on the new media law

Strasbourg 6 January 2016
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Council of Europe invites Poland to consult its experts on the new media law

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, asked the Polish President not to sign the law which allows the Government to appoint and dismiss members of the public broadcasters management and supervisory boards. In his letter to President  Andrzej Duda on 5 January, Mr Jagland referred to the alert submitted to the CoE media platform, and  invited Poland to “open a dialogue with [Council of Europe] experts on media freedom as guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, in order to have the best possible basis for … consideration before signing this new act into law”.

 

Nils Muižnieks , the Commissioner for Human Rights has also called on the Polish President not to enact the law and to uphold the independence of Poland’s public service television and radio.

“The law worryingly places public service media under direct government control by giving the latter the powers to appoint and dismiss the members of the supervisory and management boards of public service television and radio. These arrangements contradict Council of Europe standards which notably require that public service media remain independent of political or economic interference”, stated Mr Muižnieks.

 

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović has also expressed concern in a statement at the end of December, that the “hastily introduced changes will endanger the basic conditions of independence, objectivity and impartiality of public service broadcasters”.

 

Similar concerns have been expressed by seven prominent European journalist and freedom of expression associations: the Association of European Journalists, Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the European and the International Federation of Journalists, Index on Censorship and Reporters without Borders, who have submitted a collective alert to our media freedom platform, considering that the “fundamental and drastic changes proposed were … voted on without the necessary inclusive public debate” and that the proposed arrangements “represent a shift to direct government control over the strategic and editorial stance of the public broadcasters”.


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