AEJ Open Letter asks Polish ministers to shelve ‘hasty’ plans for government control over public broadcasting
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
On Tuesday the Association of European Journalists urged the newly-elected Polish government to halt its proposal to place the country’s public service TV and radio channels under its direct control, and instead to respect the widely-accepted principles of public service broadcasting, including editorial independence and impartiality.
In an Open Letter addressed to Piotr Gliński, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and to Krzysztof Czabański, Deputy Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the AEJ expressed deep concern that the proposed radical shake-up of Poland’s public TV and radio services would lead to ‘systematic editorial bias’ in favour of the Law and Justice Party, which won a majority in both of Poland’s chambers of parliament in October’s general election.
The Open Letter stated that the government’s announced intention to push through far-reaching and fundamental reforms within two monthsof taking office, and in the face of bitter opposition at home and abroad, shows ‘excessive haste and a worrying lack of transparency in a matter of vital concern to the public’. The AEJ urged the responsible ministers to hold an inclusive public debate before announcing any detailed reforms, and to ensure that the necessary safeguards against political interference are upheld so that Polish public broadcasting serves all sections of the public, in accordance with European standards agreed among all the member states of the Council of Europe.