Relaymedia

President of Poland Signs Bill Deemed 'Democratic Dictatorship' for Government Takeover of TV, Radio

( [email protected] ) Jan 14, 2016 01:10 PM EST
Demonstrators in Warsaw, Poland are claiming that Poland is in the process of becoming a "Democratic Dictatorship." There were 20,000 peaceful protesters that gathered in front of State Broadcasting Center (TVP) to express their ire about a bill that Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law last week. The bill basically gives the Government control over the polish media.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda speaks during his announcement at Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland Reuters

Demonstrators in Warsaw, Poland are claiming that Poland is in the process of becoming a "Democratic Dictatorship." There were 20,000 peaceful protesters that gathered in front of State Broadcasting Center (TVP) to express their ire about a bill that Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law last week. The bill basically gives the Government control over the Polish media.

The peaceful Polish protestors stood in front of the TVP building and carried placards reading, "Democratic Dictatorship." Some taped their mouths shut in a sympathetic move toward the silenced broadcasters. Protests took place in a total of 20 Polish cities and towns, putting the protests on a national level.

The new law has been condemned by the EU and was rushed through the Polish parliament by the Law and Justice Party (PiS). There have already been media executives who have been made to leave their jobs, and those positions have been filled by PiS political appointees. The Polish treasury minister is the governmental office that is ultimately responsible for deciding which TV and radio industry workers get to keep their jobs, and which don't. Before the new law, this decision was made by contests organized by the National Broadcasting Council.

Presidential spokeswoman Malgorzata Sadurska claims that the Polish government's motive for the new law is because, "It's important to the president that state media be impartial, objective and credible."

Another reason stated was for the preservation of Polish national traditions and Polish patriotic values, many of which are highly contrary to the rest of Western Europe.

Lawmaker Katarzyna Lubnauer of the liberal Nowoczesna party laments that the new law is, "The first step in a media takeover. I'm afraid the next laws will somehow limit the freedom of non-state media."

The protests have been organized by The Committee for the Defense of Democracy. Spokeswoman  Mateusz Kijowski said, "We are meeting because the freedom of the media is being threatened by this new law. If the media cannot see what the authorities are doing, the people will be ignorant of the government's activities."

Many moderate Poles thought that the PiS would be a vast improvement over the corrupt Civic Platform Party that it replaced. But shortly after the PiS was put in power, a national poll revealed that 56 percent of Poles realized that their democracy was threatened.

The reference to "Democratic Democracy" that the protesters have made is in connection to the days when China became a communist country and a speech given by Mao Tse-tung in which Mao describes the day when the "classes disappear" because of efforts made in which, "we are striving hard to create the very conditions which will bring about their extinction. The leadership of the Communist Party and the state power of the people's dictatorship are such conditions. Anyone who does not recognize this truth is no communist."

Tags : freedom of speech, Poland, Europe, European Union, president