Journalists from editorial offices, which have a nationwide reach, will be able to work in the border area on the terms specified by the Border Guard, said the head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, Mariusz Kamiński, in RMF FM. He stressed that this would be possible thanks to the amendment to the law on border protection, which would apply after the end of the state of emergency at the border with Belarus.
Since September 2, due to the migratory pressure in the border zone with Belarus, 183 localities of the Podlaskie and Lubelskie voivodships have been in a state of emergency. Under the ordinance of President Andrzej Duda, issued at the request of the Council of Ministers, the state of emergency was first introduced for 30 days, and then at the end of September the Sejm agreed to extend it by another 60.
Journalists have no access to the area covered by the state of emergency. When reporting on the events at the border, the media can use almost exclusively official government recordings and information.
What after the end of the state of emergency?
On Thursday, it was added to the list of legislative works of the government draft amendment to the act on the protection of the state border and some other acts. The regulation allows, inter alia, the introduction for a specified period of time forbidding staying in a specific area of the border zone.
The head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, Mariusz Kamiński, said on Saturday on the RMF FM radio that the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border is a matter of many months. – We must take the perspective that we will not solve this crisis overnight. We have to react to what is happening in various ways – and by building a dam, but also through statutory provisions that are adequate to the situation, he said.
– We have prepared an amendment to the border law in the Ministry of the Interior and after the end of the state of emergency, which will expire at the end of the month, we will introduce an amendment to the law, which will de facto extend what is presently, but in a flexible manner, taking into account various types of comments – he said.
“Editorial offices with nationwide coverage”
He indicated that journalists will be allowed to stay in the border area on the terms specified by the Border Guard. – We will be flexible, we will be reasonable. All editorial offices that operate nationwide will be able to take advantage of this opportunity – assured the minister.
He argued that the new regulations would allow “peaceful and professional activities of the Border Guard, the army and the police”. – This change of regulations will be limited to the fact that it will be possible to temporarily prohibit the movement of people who are not connected with this area on a daily basis in a given area. But here, in particular, we want to include the right to practice a profession and provide information to journalists, said the head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration.
He announced that the Sejm may deal with the draft amendment at the next session of the Sejm, which begins on Tuesday. – I really count on the support of the opposition – added Kamiński.
Head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration on the construction of a dam on the border
The head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration was also asked about the European Commission’s proposal to grant EUR 25 million to protect the border with Belarus in the EU budget for 2022. According to Kamiński, it is in the EU’s interest to co-finance dams on the border with Belarus. He also emphasized that, regardless of EU support, Poland is prepared, has secured funds for this purpose, and the construction of our dam is about to begin. – But I am worried about Lithuania and Latvia. These states have a much smaller defense potential. Support for them must be very specific support. They may not be able to cope – assessed the minister.
He announced that the dam on the Polish border would be ready “by the end of the first half of next year”.
Kamiński on a migrant camp near the border
Kaminski reported that there are currently about 1,500 people in the camp at the border on the Belarusian side and that new groups of several dozen are constantly coming to him. The camp, he said, is under the full control of the Belarusian authorities.
On the Polish side, the over 400-kilometer-long border with Belarus is currently protected by: 13,000 soldiers, 4,500 Border Guard officers and 2,000 policemen. As he said, most of the forces are located in the Podlasie section, because the Bug River is a natural dam in the Lublin Province.
The head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration said that Poland is in constant contact with the head of Frontex. – We cooperate in two practical areas: we obtain satellite photos from Frontex on an ongoing basis, and secondly, we want Frontex to cooperate on readmissions – said Kamiński.
Main photo source: PAP / 16th Mechanized Division