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The state of emergency at the border with Belarus. Konstytucjonalistka Dr. Monika Haczkowska on restricting access to public information

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A state of emergency was introduced in some of the Podlaskie and Lubelskie provinces. Constitutionalist Dr. Monika Haczkowska from the Polish Society for Constitutional Law assessed on Friday on TVN24 that the restrictions that were introduced “are the most severe, especially when it comes to the media, which so far reported what was happening on the border.” – There is no state of emergency in Wrocław, so why should I have a limited constitutional right to access public information – she emphasized.

President Andrzej Duda decided on Thursday, September 2, to issue an ordinance on the introduction of a state of emergency in some localities of the Podlaskie and Lubelskie voivodeships in connection with the situation on the border with Belarus, which was previously requested by the government. It was published on the same day in the Journal of Laws. The state of emergency in Poland is to apply for 30 days. Includes 183 localities: 115 in the Podlaskie Voivodeship and 68 in the Lubelskie Voivodeship. On Monday, the presidential ordinance is to be dealt with by the Sejm. It may repeal them.

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Constitutionalist: it seems that the restrictions introduced are the most severe

Constitutionalist Dr. Monika Haczkowska from the Polish Society for Constitutional Law referred on Friday on TVN24 to the issue that journalists can no longer enter this area and show what is happening there.

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She emphasized that “within the constitutional powers vested in the authorities when one of the states of emergency is introduced, it is possible to limit the freedom of citizens’ rights”. – The question is crucial – what rights may be limited and whether we are actually dealing with a justified restriction of individual rights. Referring to the act on the state of emergency, we have a range of restrictions that could be introduced, which could be used by public authorities in such a situation – she added.

– It seems that the ones that have been introduced are the most severe, especially when it comes to the media, which, after all, have reported what happened on the border so far, the constitutionalist assessed.

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– So if we are talking about limiting access to public information in this area in connection with border protection, then the question is whether it is justified – she added. Haczkowska emphasized that “we are also talking about the prohibition of recording places, images, areas, objects by means of technical means, which in fact applies to journalists”.

Constitutionalist in a state of emergency in part of the country: it seems that the restrictions introduced are the most severeTVN24

Haczkowska: why should I have a limited right of access to public information?

– I am in touch with the state from Wrocław. There is no state of emergency in Wrocław, so why should I have a limited constitutional right to access public information? This ban actually applies to the border area, so there is no logic in this action – she assessed.

– All over the world, wherever something bad happens, there is warfare, journalists can always (there – ed.). They have special passes, permissions and often report live situations of various kinds that are happening somewhere in the world. Therefore, it is completely unjustified for me to introduce this type of restriction – said the constitutionalist on TVN24.

– Even if we assume that it was justified to introduce this state, such restrictions, such as the need to have an ID card with you, some restrictions in movement due to a special situation, would be justified if we are talking about maintaining certain proportions. On the other hand, restricting the access of journalists in this three-kilometer lane from the border actually means that we will not know what is happening, and the authorities do not like to be looked at on their hands – she noted.

Main photo source: TVN24



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