Poland scraps proposed media restrictions in wake of street protests

Poland scraps proposed media restrictions in wake of street protests

Poland’s president says he has received a pledge from leaders of the populist ruling party that they won’t introduce restrictions on media access in parliament, a plan that had sparked days of bitter protests, The Guardian reports.

It appeared to be a victory for the political opposition and the civic activists who have staged protests since Friday. It is the second time that the ruling populist Law and Justice party has stepped back from disputed measures due to street protests.

In October, the party also withdrew a plan for a total abortion ban after huge numbers of women dressed in black protested across the country.

President Andrzej Duda spoke in an interview on state television on Monday evening after holding crisis talks with key ruling party figures, including the powerful chairman, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Duda, who hails from the populist ruling party and remains aligned with it, said the party had “good intentions” when it announced last week that it planned to include various restrictions that would have limited the access journalists are given.

It would have marked a change from the situation of the past years, with reporters able to mingle in the halls of parliament with lawmakers and film the sessions. He said the plan was only intended to help journalists organise their work better.

But he acknowledged it was too divisive and said the matter was no longer on the table.