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Saturday, January 29, 2022

The border with Belarus. The state of emergency will cease to apply after midnight. What about media access to the border area?

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After midnight, the state of emergency will cease to apply at the border with Belarus. A spokeswoman for the Border Guard, Anna Michalska, asked if it meant that the media would be able to enter the area with cameras, replied that this would happen if “the new law is not published today”. On Tuesday afternoon, the Sejm will deal with the Senate’s amendments to the amendment to the law on border protection. The amendment makes it possible to introduce a temporary ban on staying in the border zone.

Due to the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, a state of emergency has been in force since 2 September in 183 towns in the Podlaskie and Lubelskie voivodships adjacent to the border with Belarus. It was introduced for 30 days under the ordinance of President Andrzej Duda issued at the request of the Council of Ministers. The Seym agreed to extend the state of emergency for another 60 days, that is until the end of November. Journalists have no access to the area under the state of emergency. When reporting on the events at the border, the media can use almost exclusively official government recordings and information.

A spokeswoman for the Border Guard, Lieutenant Anna Michalska, confirmed on TVN24 on Tuesday that the state of emergency would cease to apply after midnight. When asked if this meant that the media would be able to enter this area with cameras from then on, she replied that “if new regulations are not introduced, if a new law is not published today, then yes”. “If it is published, it won’t,” she added.

The Sejm will deal with the Senate’s amendments to the bill on border protection

On Tuesday afternoon, the Sejm will begin its three-day session. As reported by TVN24 reporter Maja Wójcikowska, it was originally supposed to start at 2 p.m., but the deputy speaker of the Sejm Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska informed that it was postponed to 3 p.m.

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According to the schedule of the Sejm, voting is to take place between 15.00 and 15.30, including the committee’s report on the Senate’s resolution on the act amending the act on the protection of the state border and some other acts.

The amendment makes it possible to introduce a temporary ban on staying in the border zone. Such a ban may be introduced in particularly vulnerable areas along the external border line by way of an ordinance of the head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, after consulting the chief commander of the Border Guard. The ban will be exempt from, inter alia, residents or people running there. For a specified period of time and under certain conditions, the commander of the Border Guard will be able to allow other people, including journalists, to stay there.

The Senate introduced amendments to the amendment, according to which the ban would not apply to journalists or representatives of organizations whose purpose is to provide humanitarian, legal and medical aid. The provisions enabling the ban, according to one of the amendments, would expire 3 months after entry into force. Other Senate change would limit the area in which access to the area currently under a state of emergency could be banned. A further amendment would delete the possible penalty of detention for breaking the prohibition of stay, leaving only a fine. Senators also added a provision according to which the head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration and General Headquarters of the Border Guard would report to the Sejm on the prohibition in force every 30 days.

Grabiec: the rulers suddenly realized that the state of emergency was ending

– PiS was surprised by the term he wrote in the bill and suddenly the government realized that the state of emergency was ending and that it had to be changed somehow. Hence the sudden acceleration of the work of the Seym. The day before the meeting. This shows that they do not control anything, even the bills they send to the Sejm, while the situation on the border requires constant attention, which is why senators of the Civic Coalition, the democratic opposition, have tabled amendments that civilize this law that the government has submitted – commented on Tuesday Jan Grabiec, PO spokesman, in the Sejm.

Marek Biernacki from the Polish-PSL Coalition said that “you can see that the government has no strategy to protect our eastern border.”

When asked what reality we would wake up in tomorrow, assuming that everything would go as PiS intended and the bill would leave the Sejm today in its original form, he said that “we will have limitations, such a pocket-sized or defective state of emergency, which was introduced on the same episode and the same territory “.

Deputy Speaker of the Sejm and PiS club leader Ryszard Terlecki, when asked whether the United Right camp would support Senate amendments, replied: I think not.

On Monday, the Senate’s amendments were considered by a parliamentary committee, which recommended that each of them be rejected.

After the law leaves the Sejm, the president still has to sign it. The new regulations are to enter into force on the day following the date of their announcement, with the exception of the regulations governing the service of Border Guard officers, which are to enter into force on January 1, 2022.

Main photo source: PAP / Artur Reszko



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