Fact finding mission
This is the latest in a series of legal and constitutional moves that have caused concern for human rights and the rule of law in Poland, and which prompted the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom to send a fact finding mission to Warsaw and Wroclaw in January 2016. The European Federation of Journalists and International Press Institute were also on the fact finding team. And the EU Commission also started an official Dialogue with the Polish government under the Rule of Law regulations that exist to defend constitutional rights in Member States.
On behalf of Europe’s journalism unions, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård – himself an ECPMF Board member – comments:
Journalists should be provided with enhanced access to MPs and facilities ensuring they can move freely within the parliament. I fully agree with the statement signed by Poland’s largest independent news outlets on Friday. Such a restriction not only limits the freedom of journalists, but also the rights of citizens to be fully informed about the activities of their parliamentarians.”
In Wroclaw, the local organiser of the pressure group KOD (Committee for the Defence of the Constitution) Michal Korczak (pictured) has called for daily protests to continue every evening. Chanting “Constitution, constitution“, the demonstrators heard a speech by Professor Ludwik Turko. In 2015 he was awarded the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity however, refused to receive it, on the grounds of the activities of President Andrzej Duda in a dispute concerning the Constitutional Court.
European Council President Donald Tusk (formerly the Liberal Platform party Prime Minister of Poland 2007-2014) was in the city as large crowds gathered on the evening of 17th December. He was there in his official capacity to declare the ending of Wroclaw’s year as European Capital of Culture. However he included in his speech a plea that „People, values and rights should be accepted.“