July 27, 2008

Polish Parliament Fails to Reject Presidential Veto on Media Law

Text of report in English by Polish national independent news agency PAP

Warsaw, 27 July: The Sejm on Friday upheld the presidential veto to an amendment to the media law, drafted by the ruling Civic Platform PO.

The PO-Polish People's Party PSL coalition lacked 24 votes to reject the veto with the decisive role of Left Mps who abstained from casting votes.

In all 447 MPs cast their votes. To reject the veto the ruling coalition needed 269 votes. 245 MPs were for rejecting the veto, 160 were against and 42 abstained including 37 Left MPs.

According to PM Donald Tusk the true loser was the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). In his opinion the left-wing voters will never forgive the SLD a "conspiracy for maintaining Law and Justice PiS control over public media."

He added that neither he nor PO bargained the rejection of the veto with the SLD.

Jolanta Szymanek-Deresz (SLD) said Saturday that the time is ripe for embarking on a new supra-party media law with SLDs proposals taken into account.

The point is, she said that the treasury minister should not have influence on filling posts in mass media and that radio and TV licence fees could be deducted from the income tax.

She added that the SLD critically assessed the PiS law on media but at the same time could not support the PO bill for PO was against depoliticization of mass media.

PiS head Jaroslaw Kaczynski said after the vote that it was good that the PO-authored amendment was rejected as it was to subject public mass media to the government and to ruin an important element of our culture.

After Friday's votes the Sejm took a summer recess and will resume sitting at the start of September.

Originally published by PAP news agency, Warsaw, in English 1440 27 Jul 08.

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