Doc. 9419

23 April 2002

Threat to democracy and freedom of speech in Poland

Written Declaration No. 334

This written declaration commits only the members who have signed it

The undersigned, members of the Assembly, are very concerned about the status of the mass media in Poland as well as about new legal regulations aimed at the free media and planned by the government of Leszek Miller.

Reform of the Radio and Television Bill planned by the government is aimed at greater commercialisation of public television and strengthening its public financing. It does not bring any guarantees of independence for public media, which are practically dependent on government parties.

State management of frequencies has led to the domination of state owned broadcasters and has been used to stop the development of commercial, privately owned competitors.

The new anti-trust law, included in the draft, will also weaken the business competitiveness of the independent media in Poland.

The draft law, introduced into the parliamentary fast-track without any consultation, was criticised by all commercial broadcasters, the Council of Media Ethics, the World Press Freedom Committee, the International Press Institute and many other bodies.

The draft law on political monopoly proposed by the Polish government has become a real threat to democracy and freedom of speech in Poland.

Signed (see overleaf)

Signed : 1

Libicki, Poland, EDG

Abbasov, Azerbaijan, EDG

Agramunt, Spain, EPP

Aguiar, Portugal, EPP

Akgönenç, Turkey, EDG

Aliyev G, Azerbaijan, EDG

Atkinson, United Kingdom, EDG

Belohorská, Slovakia, EDG

Brunhart, Liechtenstein, EPP

Büchel, Liechtenstein, EPP

Buwitt, Germany, EPP

Cerrahoğlu, Turkey, EDG

Chapman, United Kingdom, EDG

Dimas, Greece, EPP

Frunda, Romania, EPP

Gatterer, Austria, EPP

Goulet, France, EDG

Gubert, Italy, EPP

Hooper, United Kingdom, EDG

Huseynov A, Azerbaijan, EDG

Kalkan, Turkey, EDG

Keltošová, Slovakia, EDG

Klich, Poland, EPP

Knight, United Kingdom, EDG

Kostytsky, Ukraine, EPP

Kvakkestad, Norway, EDG

Landsbergis, Lithuania, EDG

Lintner, Germany, EPP

Maissen, Switzerland, EPP

Malgieri, Italy, EDG

Markowski, Poland, EPP

Monsen, Norway, EDG

Paleckova, Czech Republic, EDG

Patarkalishvili, Georgia, EPP

Pellicini, Italy, EDG

Spindelegger, Austria, EPP

Tepshi, Albania, EPP

Tkáč, Slovakia, EDG

van den Brande, Belgium, EPP

Wielowieyski, Poland, EPP

Wilkinson, United Kingdom, EDG

_______________

Total = 41


1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP: Group of the European People’s Party

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group