Polish President Andrzej Duda has signed a controversial new law giving the country’s conservative government direct control of state media, despite condemnation by some European Union leaders.
Malgorzata Sadurska, an aide to President Duda, said he wants state media to be “impartial, objective and reliable.”
Under the new law, the treasury minister will name new chief executives for Polish state radio and television. The legislation also will affect the media groups’ supervisory board members and managers.
European Union figures have criticized the new law as a threat to the independence of all Polish media.
Poland’s conservative Law and Justice party (PiS) promised to exert control over state media after taking power late last year. The party’s agenda also includes changing the makeup of Poland’s constitutional court – another issue that has triggered complaints.
The European Commission will discuss the rule of law in Poland in a debate set to begin next week (1/13).
The outcome of that meeting could set in motion procedures leading to a potential suspension of Poland’s EU voting rights, but the Commission chief, Jean-Claunde Juncker, says such an outcome is unlikely.
Juncker says discussions between the European Commission and officials in Warsaw are already underway, and he does not expect further consequences against Poland, which is the biggest economic power in the eastern portion of the 28-nation EU.
“Let’s not overdramatize,” Juncker told reporters at a news conference Thursday in Amsterdam. “We have to have friendly and good relations with Poland. Our approach is very constructive. We are not bashing Poland.”