Poland's president signs controversial media law

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda signs controversial media law amid EU concerns over media independence

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Poland's President Andrzej Duda speaks during a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, September 21, 2015.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda on Thursday signed a controversial bill which will impact the integrity and independence of public service media in the country.

President’s aide Malgorzata Sadurska backed the president's attempt by that the bill will make state media more "impartial, objective and reliable,"  due to the current state media seen as being not trustworthy.  

Polish parliament had adopted the new law which gives sweeping powers to authorities to control the media last week, turning a deaf ear to warnings of European Union.  

The law gives authorities the power to appoint successors and dismiss all members of the supervisory and management boards of public media outlets, shaking guarantees of independence of public service television and radio.

According to Sadurska, president took into account all EU concerns before making the decision.  

On Tuesday, Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, urged Duda to not sign the media law.  

"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,” Muiznieks said.

"These arrangements contradict Council of Europe standards which notably require that public service media remain independent of political or economic interference."

President of the EU commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said at a news conference in Amsterdam on Thursday that The European Union is unlikely to punish Poland, as one EU official having called for a supervision procedure that could lead to Warsaw's voting rights in the 28-nation bloc being suspended.

"Now we are in discussions with Poland and I don't want to speculate about further consequences, which could be entailed by the application of Article 7. We are not there, I don't think we will get to that point."

"Let's not overdramatise ... We have to have friendly and good relations with Poland so our approach is very constructive. We are not bashing Poland."

Poland and EU relations have remained tense since Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) party the won national elections last October.

TRTWorld and agencies