Saturday, July 30, 2016


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EU Executive Body To Debate Controversial New Polish Media Law

By RFE/RL

The European Union’s executive body will take up the issue of controversial new amendments to Poland’s media law when it meets later this month.

The decision by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to schedule a January 13 debate signaled growing concern about the newly passed changes pushed by Poland’s conservative-nationalist Law and Justice party.

The changes give the government authority to appoint managers of state-run radio and television stations.

Meanwhile, Gunther Oettinger, who is the EU commissioner for the digital economy and society, threatened to put Poland on notice for infringing on common European values for the legislation.

"Many reasons exist for us to activate the 'Rule of Law mechanism' and for us to place Warsaw under monitoring," he was quoted as saying in an interview with the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The move would start a series of steps that could eventually see Warsaw lose its voting rights at the European Council, the organization that groups the leaders of all 28 EU countries.

A spokesman for Polish President Andrzej Duda said the changes in the legislation were necessary, because, he said, for eight years under the previous pro-EU government, state broadcasters were "deeply one-party media."

The broadcasters had "not a penny's worth of pluralism," spokesman Marek Magierowski said, and "not a single EU commissioner or EU lawmaker expressed any concern over the fact."

Four directors of state TV channels and programs resigned last week in protest of the new law, while state radio is airing the EU and Polish national anthems before news broadcasts to stress attachment to EU values.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters

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