Controversial Polish media bill signed into law

Controversial Polish media bill signed into law
The headquarters of Polish public service television (TVP) in Warsaw (Image: Alina Zienowicz under a CC licence)

8 January 2016

Polish President Andrzej Duda has signed into law a controversial new media bill that will see the new conservative government tightening its control on state media.

“The president wants public media to be impartial, objective and credible. It’s hard to argue that such criteria are the hallmarks of the media at present,” the head of the Presidential Office, Małgorzata Sadurska, stated at a press conference yesterday.

The law, widely criticised both in Poland and internationally as threatening free speech, gives the government the power to appoint the heads of public broadcasters.

Under the new law, Polish public service television (TVP) and Polish Radio will be overseen by a new national media council close to the ruling conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS), while there will also be an overhaul of media regulators and the heads of public broadcasters will be accountable to the treasury minister. The directors of four TVP channels resigned in protest of the law last weekend.

European Union Commissioner for the Digital Economy, Guenther Oettinger, has warned of the possibility of legal action against Poland’s government over the law.

Source: Radio Poland