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Thursday, 21 December 2023 17:46

Polish president denounces Tusk's state media overhaul as 'anarchy'

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Police stand outside the television building as protesters and Law and Justice politicians gather inside the headquarters after the management of Polish public television, radio and news agency PAP have been dismissed by new culture minister

 

 

WARSAW: The new Polish government led by Donald Tusk is implementing reforms of state media that amount to "anarchy", the president said on Thursday, amid rising tensions between the head of state and a new pro-European Union administration.

The swearing-in of a government led former European Council President Tusk this month marked the beginning of a period of cohabitation with President Andrzej Duda, an ally of the previous nationalist administration. It has seen a turbulent first few days.

On Wednesday, the new government took a public news channel off the air and dismissed executives from state media in a move its said was designed to restore impartiality.

State media, and in particular news channel TVP Info, were accused of having become outlets for propaganda under the rule of the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party.

Duda told private broadcaster Radio Zet that the sudden way the changes had been implemented broke the constitution as they skipped the appropriate parliamentary procedures.

"These are completely illegal actions," he said. "This is anarchy."

Meanwhile Former Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski and his deputy from PiS were sentenced on Wednesday to two years in prison for abuse of power in previous posts. In 2015, weeks after PiS came to power, Duda issued them with a pardon.

"I told them that if they were put in prison, they would be the first political prisoners in Poland since 1989," Duda said, referring to the year when communist rule ended.

Responding to an appeal on Wednesday from Duda to respect the law when implementing media reforms, Tusk said the actions were aimed at "restoring legal order and common decency in public life".

The new government considers Duda himself to have been involved in multiple violations of the constitution during PiS's eight years in power//CNA-VOI

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