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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Media freedom. Letter to President Joe Biden on the independence of the media in Poland and Hungary

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“The ruling Law and Justice party systematically weakens the independent media in Poland,” wrote organizations monitoring media freedom in the world in a letter to President Joe Biden. The organizations called on the American leader to support efforts to “guarantee media pluralism and independent journalism” in Poland and Hungary.

“On the occasion of your visit to Brussels for a meeting with partners from the European Union and NATO, Media Freedom Rapid Response would like to draw your attention to the serious deterioration of media freedom in some European countries, which seriously threatens the rule of law, which is the cornerstone of our democracy and mutual security” – wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden.

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The signatories of the letter – International Press Institute, European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), OBC Transeuropa (OBCT) – noted that they are particularly concerned about the situation in Poland and Hungary, where “the governments entered to a permanent path of erosion of media pluralism and the silencing of critical journalism through the state takeover of media. ”

“Media freedom and pluralism as well as democracy are not something given once and for all”Media For Freedom Summit

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“Tightening the screw” to independent media

The signatories of the letter pointed out that in Poland “the ruling Law and Justice party systematically weakens independent media, including those belonging to foreign owners, such as TVN24”. Examples of “tightening the screw” were mentioned by independent media in Poland, inter alia, “the proposal for a new tax on advertising, discriminatory use of state advertising and a series of harassing lawsuits against critical media.”

Letter to President Joe Biden

The letter also referred to the issue of taking over the Polska Press group by PKN Orlen, which “has already led to purges in the editorial offices of the publisher’s regional media”.

“These are not isolated cases. Media freedom is under increasing pressure, populist politicians around the world and in Europe are using the power of power to attack freedom of speech,” we read. In the authors’ opinion, this threatens “democracy and the rule of law, which are the cornerstones of transatlantic relations.”

It noted that the United States has long been a leader in defending freedom of expression and freedom of the press in the world. The signatories called for the US President to support efforts to “guarantee media pluralism and independent journalism” in Poland and Hungary.

Main photo source: FRANCOIS MORI / PAP / EPA



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