World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - Poland, 25 January 2016

Protest Campaign - Poland, 25 January 2016

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His Excellency President Andrzej Duda
President of Poland

C/O Prime Minister Beata Szydlo
Via fax: +48 (22) 694 70 53
Via email:

25 January 2016


Your Excellency,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at your signing into law of legislation that enables the new Law and Justice Party government to appoint the heads of public TV and radio, as well as civil service directors.

The provisions, which you signed into law on 7 January, provide the Treasury Minister with the power to hire and fire the broadcasting chiefs – a role previously in the hands of a media supervisory committee. Although a presidential spokeswoman said that you signed the provisions to ensure that public broadcast news was "impartial, objective and reliable", we are concerned that the handing of senior public broadcasting appointments to a government minister will have the exact opposite effect, as it opens public media to direct politicisation. We are also concerned that political involvement in public broadcasting might be followed by political involvement in private sector media.

Many European institutions and media watchdogs have expressed their view that the law conflicts with European Union standards and undermines free speech. European Union Commissioner for Digital Economy Guenther Oettinger has expressed deep concern over the law, saying that it conflicts with fundamental values of the EU. He suggested that full implementation of the law would be grounds to activate the EU Rule of Law Mechanism in order to monitor Warsaw, which could potentially result in Poland losing its vote in the European Council.

We believe that governments should not interfere in the media business and that their overriding duty is to create conditions in which free, independent, credible media can thrive. We respectfully call on you to take all possible steps to rescind this damaging law and to ensure that in future Poland fully respects its international obligations to freedom of expression.


We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,


Tomas Brunegård
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Marcelo Rech
World Editors Forum


WAN-IFRA is the global organisation for the world's newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organisation groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2016-01-26 13:00

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...