The European Commission has entered into a “structured and cooperative exchange with the Polish authorities” under the Rule of Law Framework.
This follows an orientation debate at the Commission that took place on January 13 and will examine changes that have recently taken place in the country, not least to its public service broadcasters.
The “exchange” will last until March and has been welcomed by the EBU as a step in the right direction.
Ingrid Deltenre, DG of the EBU said “As VP Timmermans has pointed out, there is a clear link between rule of law, democracy, and freedom of the media. As it stands, the recent Polish media law goes against basic principles and established standards of public service media governance throughout Europe.”
She added: “At the same time, the EBU believes that the launch of such a procedure needs full backing of the EU Member States and support by the European Parliament in order to be fully effective.”
This comes as the Czech public broadcaster CT has added its voice to the concerns about amendments to the broadcast law in Poland and how they have impacted on TVP and its radio counterpart.
MD of CT and EBU executive board member Petr Dvorák said: “The situation in which public media in Poland now finds itself is extremely disconcerting. It’s a move towards a government takeover where public media will disappear, and with it the ability of Poles to access any independent information. On the contrary, commercial media will never be able to guarantee independence from economic or political influences.”
He added: “This development shows that not even in countries with 25 years of democratic tradition are the foundations of a free society unshakeable. It doesn’t take much. Today, the role of public media must be protected perhaps more intensively than at any other time during the past two decades.”