Poland’s highest court rules liquidation of Polish state media illegal

On January 18, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal called the government’s decision to liquidate the state radio, television, and news agency, which were accused of propaganda under the previous government, illegal.

In its decision, the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland noted that any decisions regarding state-owned broadcasting companies should be based on the relevant law, not on the code of commercial companies, which makes decisions on their liquidation invalid, Rzeczpospolita reported.

“The right to dismiss members of the management (of state media, Ed.) belongs exclusively to the National Media Council,” the court stated.

The Ministry of Culture of Poland, whose head, Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, signed the decree on the liquidation of the three state media outlets, called the decision of the Constitutional Tribunal invalid due to violations in the appointment of its members.

The ministry also referred to resolutions of the European Court of Human Rights, which state that the Constitutional Tribunal in its current form “is not an independent and impartial” court and that its decisions “are not binding.”.

In December, Senkiewicz announced that he was going to liquidate the state television, radio, and news agency after Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoed the new government’s spending plans for state media.

These media outlets are still operating, but with new programs and journalists. The Polish government has said that after the liquidation, it wants to resume the broadcasters’ work as new legal entities under new management.

This conflict is just one of several between the current and previous governments in Poland. One of the most high-profile cases involved the detention and conviction of former Polish Interior Ministry officials Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wonsik for abuse of power.

However, it is possible that this judgment will not receive universal recognition as binding. This is because the judges did not repeal any provision as unconstitutional. The judges ruled that the provision referring from the Broadcasting Act to the Commercial Companies Code can only be applied to a limited extent. Thus, they issued a so-called “scope judgment. Judge Jaroslaw Wyrembak admitted this during his oral justification of the judgment.

Read also: Convicted former Polish Interior Minister goes on hunger strike, President initiates pardon

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