News

Council of Europe chief asks Poland’s president not to sign contested public broadcasting law, citing ‘alert’ from AEJ and other journalists’ organisations

In a rare top-level public intervention the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, has written a letter  to Poland’s President, Andzej Duda, asking him to refrain from signing into law the controversial public service media legislation just adopted by the Sejm, and to open a dialogue focusing on Poland’s commitments to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights. Mr Jagland’s letter cites the Alert submitted to the Council of Europe’s ‘Platform to promote the protection of journalists and the safety of journalists’ by the AEJ, Article 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, the European Federation and International Federation of Journalists, Index on Censorship and Reporters Without Borders.

The Alert, published on 4 January, expressed strong objections from the 7 journalists’ and freedom of expression associations to the proposed removal of guarantees of the independence of public TV and radio services in Poland, and called on the ruling Law and Justice party to abandon the legislation. President Duda had been widely expected to sign the PSM legislation into law without delay. But over the past several days Mr Duda has received messages of concern about the proposed law from the European Broadcasting Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, in addition to the personal letter sent by the Secretary-General of the Council Europe.

Read the full text of Mr Jagland’s Letter here.

Read the Council of Europe ‘Platform’ Alert about the Polish public service media law and related texts here.