The expert opinion assesses the compatibility of the draft “Big Media Reform Package” - which relates to the Polish public service media and which is currently being discussed in the Polish parliament - with Council of Europe standards relating to freedom of expression and public service media.
The Council of Europe experts' opinion has been drafted by Eve Salomon, legal expert on media related law and regulation and by Jean-François Furnémont, former Chair of EPRA (European platform of regulatory authorities).
The opinion points to the need for improvements particularly in the following areas:
1. Governance: the procedure for the selection and appointment of members of the National Media Council should be transparent, set out in law and should ensure that those appointed are properly qualified to do the job, independent of political influence and represent the diversity within Polish society;
2. Content and public mission: a number of provisions in the new legislation affect media content and may result in reduced pluralism and editorial independence. Editorial control should be the responsibility of the directors and editors-in-chief. Content issued by public service media must reflect the diversity of Polish society and should remain impartial and balanced.
3. Protection of journalists: the current proposal for collective dismissal of middle management employees should be abandoned.
4. The Licence fee system: greater certainty should be provided over funding, but the reforms to the system should be made more proportionate, with greater clarity given to the provisions relating to enforcement and the assessed adequacy between funding and the remit. A full impact assessment is recommended. Tags:
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