December 16, 2016 - 16:10 AMT
Polish media outlets refuse to cover parliament for closing door on them

More than twenty Polish media outlets including two major dailies refused to cover parliament Friday, December 16 to protest planned restriction of their work there, AFP reports.

The planned new rules grant access to parliament's press gallery to only two journalists per outlet and ban them from shooting still pictures or video.

The restrictions therefore prevent the media from recording images of lawmakers when they break the rules, for example by voting for an absent colleague.

The only video images available will be provided by the parliament's official video service.

The new system makes journalists work at a press centre situated in another building, limiting their access to lawmakers.

The ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party said the measure sought to guarantee a comfortable work environment to both lawmakers and journalists.

"It's definitely not meant to reduce transparency," said PiS lawmaker Arkadiusz Mularczyk.

Those joining Friday's media boycott included big dailies Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita, as well as two large private radio channels.

Several dozen journalists, including big names, rallied outside the parliament building on Thursday.

In a letter, they asked the speakers of both parliamentary chambers to drop the planned measure.

"It will only allow politicians to steer clear of journalists easily," the letter says.

Photo: AFP