Poland press freedom: Demonstrations enter third day

Protesters attend an anti-government demonstration in Warsaw, Poland, 17 December 17, 2016.Image copyright

Image caption

Crowds gathered outside the presidential palace on Saturday, before marching to parliament

Protests in the Polish capital Warsaw against government plans to restrict journalists’ access to parliament have entered their third day.

Protesters have gathered outside parliament where opposition MPs continue a sit-in that began on Friday.

Government supporters are due to hold a demonstration in Warsaw later.

Polish President Andrzej Duda is due to meet opposition leaders on Sunday. He is aligned with the governing party but has offered to mediate.

On Saturday, journalists met the speaker of the upper house of parliament to discuss the new rules.

Although no breakthrough was made at the talks, there were signs that a compromise deal may be reached after another meeting was scheduled for Monday.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, in a televised address, has said the blockade on parliament in protest at the new rules by opposition MPs was “scandalous”.

She said people were free to protest, but had to respect the views of others.

Image copyright

Image caption

Protesters support the work of the Constitutional Court amid government protests to reduce its powers

Opposition MPs say the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party is trying to stifle press freedom with its plans to limit the number of reporters allowed to cover parliament.

As well as the number of journalists permitted to enter the parliament building being restricted, only five selected Polish TV stations will be allowed to record or broadcast parliamentary sessions.

The government said it did not believe that the measures were restrictive.

The opposition is also challenging last Friday’s vote on next year’s budget held by pro-government MPs in a smaller hall – not the main chamber – and excluding the press.

It was the first time since the restoration of democracy in 1989 that such a vote was held outside the main chamber of parliament.

Some opposition supporters have also marched outside the Constitutional Court, showing appreciation of its work.

The PiS has been trying to curtail its powers, drawing criticism from Poland’s European Union partners.

Media captionCrowds blocked the entrance to the Polish parliament late on Friday evening

Poland press freedom: Demonstrations enter third day

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *