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HFHR on still unclear rules for media in Parliament

The Helsinki Foundation is concerned over the media accounts of practical difficulties that have been faced in recent weeks by some of the journalists covering events at the Polish Parliament. We are worried in particular by arbitrary restrictions imposed on the media working at the Sejm, whose basis is unclear.

The HFHR observes that any rules that restrict the freedom of journalistic work in political institutions must be not only proportionate and take into account standards of the freedom of speech, but also clear, comprehensible and easily accessible by journalists. Establishing a framework of transparent rules governing the access and movement of journalists in the parliamentary buildings and audio and video recording made at these venues is a key condition for the efficient work of the media at Parliament. Such rules are also a cornerstone of the media’s proper performance of the role of a public watchdog as well as provision of a reliable coverage of the functioning of these institutions.

In January 2017, the Foundation prepared an opinion on the rules for media at the Polish Parliament, which presented international standards of providing coverage of parliamentary work and recommendations that should guide the introduction of any restrictions on journalists working at Parliament.

The HFHR will continue to monitor the situation of parliamentary journalists.

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