Poland’s president criticizes the government’s assault on public media and violation of rule of law 

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
4 Min Read

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda took the opportunity in his New Year’s address to signal his strong disapproval of the government’s actions in seizing control of public media. He called it “an attempt to take over media by force for the first time since the end of communism,” with the transmission signal actually being switched off and public media put into a state of liquidation. 

He said that those in power must respect the law.

“I would like to make this clear: Those in power can reform the public media, but this must be done in accordance with the law,“ said Duda, adding that in a democracy, politicians must respect the constitution, the rule of law and good political manners.

“Unfortunately, in recent days, the government coalition, in an attempt to take over the public media, has broken these rules,” stated Duda.

However, Duda reached out to the new parliamentary majority by stating that he has “always been and always (will be) open to such a discussion regarding legal changes. However, there will never be any consent on my part to violate the constitution. And this is, unfortunately, the situation we are currently facing.”

Duda expressed his disapproval of key decisions being taken via parliamentary resolutions rather than legislation.

“Resolutions of the Sejm do not have the legal force to form the basis for action by state bodies with consequences for citizens. Such actions also blatantly contradict the constitution. If we condone such practices today, any new parliamentary majority will be able to act in this way in the future,” he warned, adding that he would oppose this and that the government must return to respecting the rule of law.

Duda insisted that the priority was national security.

“After eight years, our country’s parliamentary majority has changed, the prime minister has changed, the government has changed. But the most important task facing those in power has not changed. It is to take care of the security of our homeland,” said Duda.

The president was referring to the war in Ukraine and the need to modernize the Polish military. He also pointed to his role as head of Poland’s armed forces, saying that, “as the Commander–in–Chief of the Armed Forces, I am always ready to cooperate with the government on issues concerning the strengthening of our security.”

However, he linked the issues of the rule of law and security by saying that any chaos in the state weakens its ability to provide security to the people. Duda recalled that Poland has already faced such a situation.

“I remember it very well, as I was minister in the Chancellery of President Lech Kaczyński when Donald Tusk was previously head of government.” An image of former President Lech Kaczyński was displayed to emphasize his point. 

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