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Swedish public broadcasters decry new Polish media law

Published tisdag 12 januari 2016 kl 12.03
Cilla Benkö: "Swedish politicians need to speak up, too"
(4:41 min)
Protesters demonstrate in front of the Polish Television TVP News headquarters last week. Photo: Czarek Sokolowski / TT / AP.
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Protesters demonstrate in front of the Polish Television TVP News headquarters last week. Photo: Czarek Sokolowski / TT / AP.
Cilla Benkö. Foto: Mattias Ahlm/Sveriges Radio
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Cilla Benkö, Swedish Radio's director-general. Photo: Mattias Ahlm/Sveriges Radio

The heads of Sweden's public broadcasters expressed their alarm over Poland's newly-elected government's move to restrict public service media.

In an op-ed published in Tuesday's Dagens Nyheter, Cilla Benkö, director-general of Swedish Radio, along with Hanna Stjärne and Christel Tholse Willers, the heads of Swedish Television and the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company, wrote that Poland's new media law "turned back the clock" on press freedoms in the former Soviet bloc country.

"The Polish government should listen to reason and tear up the decision that violates the basic principles of media independence," the trio wrote. "This should be done immediately."

Poland's president signed the temporary law on Thursday and the legislation will be in effect until June 30. It allows for the immediate removal of the directors of state radio and television, and lets the Polish treasury minister appoint successors as opposed to a separate radio and TV committee that used to oversee the media.

The heads of Sweden's public broadcasters also called on politicians here to pressure the Polish government into reversing its media controls and to realize that Sweden is not immune to what's happening in Warsaw.

"We therefore urge Swedish politicians, in a Sweden with 250 years of press freedom, to see Poland as a cautionary tell of how quickly fundamental democratic forces can be eliminated," they wrote.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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