Freedom of the Press

Poland

Poland

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

18

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

5

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

7

Articles 14, 54, and 213 of the constitution ban censorship and provide guarantees for freedom of the press, and the media generally enjoy these rights in practice. With some gaps in enforcement, a 2001 law on freedom of information has noticably improved access to official documents. Nevertheless, reporters continue to face the threat of imprisonment for libel against the state and public officials. In recent years, critical journalists have increasingly become the targets of politically motivated defamation suits. While self-censorship does exist, larger media organizations are willing to voice criticism. In February, authorities seized the passports of three executives at Presspublica, the publisher of the influential newspaper Rzeczpospolita, and placed the individuals under surveillance. Press freedom advocates noted that the government owned 49 percent of Presspublica and was likely trying to exert inappropriate influence over the management. The government controls four national television stations and four national radio broadcasters. Public broadcasters have demonstrated a marked dependence on the state, as partisan politicians retain a measurable amount of influence over content. In March, Prime Minister Leszek Miller introduced legislation that would benefit state media at the expense of private media groups. The draft bill prohibits private companies from owning both print and broadcast outlets but exempts government controlled media from any such restrictions. The law did not enter into force by the end of the year.