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HFHR appeals to parliamentary Speakers about journalists’ working conditions

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights calls on the Speakers of the Sejm and Senate for ensuring that members of the media can fully and effectively report current events at the Parliament.

According to the HFHR, the absence of the ability to provide a full news coverage of the Parliament’s work means that the public is deprived of access to credible information about the most important themes related to the functioning of the state. “Information about activities of the legislative are an inherent part of the wide public debate, which enjoys special protection under the European Convention on Human Rights and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights”, reads today’s statement.

The HFHR notes that the rapid developments of the Friday night, which were triggered by an announcement of radical limitations of access for parliamentary correspondents, show how crucial the media’s role is in parliamentary reporting. “Journalists were prevented from covering parliamentary deliberations because the session had been transferred from the plenary chamber and this resulted in a situation in which members of the public were unable to receive a credible and full account of the course of legislative works carried out on that day, hence fully review and evaluate lawmaking efforts made by deputies”, the HFHR alarms.

The Helsinki Foundation has issued a statement on journalists’ work at the Sejm. In October, the HFHR sent a letter to the Speaker of the Sejm, reminding that free access of journalists to the Sejm’s premises as well as journalists’ ability to record sound and video and publicly broadcast news from the Sejm are fundamental rights of journalists in a democratic state ruled by law (to learn more, click on this link).

“Once again we call for the reinstatement of journalists’ ability to provide effective live coverage of events at the Sejm. We also urge that the Parliament should refrain from introducing unreasonable and excessively restrictive limitations on parliamentary correspondents, which in practice deprive them the ability to perform key responsibilities of the media as a public watchdog”, reads the statement.

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