Poland : Department Press Briefing – December 12, 2017

Heather Nauert

Spokesperson
Department Press Briefing
Washington, DC
December 12, 2017

(excerpt)

MS NAUERT: Yeah. As you know, Poland is a close ally of ours, a NATO member, also a fellow democratic country. We have a good relationship with that country. But we’ve been watching very carefully some of the developments that have been taking place in Poland over the last 11 months, over the last year or so. In terms of some of the recent judicial reform legislation that’s been moving through Polish parliament, we are following that very closely. We are aware of the president’s new judicial reform proposals and recent amendments that have been introduced in the lower house of parliament. We continue to follow that closely, the upper house of parliament’s deliberations on that legislation. We are relying on our allies to maintain strong democratic institutions, economies, and defense capabilities. The United States has stressed that judicial reform should be in line with Poland’s constitution and the highest standards of international law, and respect judicial independence and separation of powers.

Another thing that we are following very, very closely is what is happening to some news organizations in Poland. And as a democratic country, you tend to have a free and fair press. We’re tremendously concerned about the direction that the country seems to be going in. We’re concerned about Poland’s national radio and television broadcasting council’s December the 11th, yesterday’s, decision to fine the private TV broadcaster TVN for so-called biased reporting of demonstrations that occurred between December 16th and 18th. A lot of you have – probably saw those demonstrations here on the news. A free and independent media is a fundamental pillar of democracies. Poland would certainly be one of those. The decision appears to undermine and interfere with media freedom in Poland. They’re a close ally and a federal – and a fellow democracy. So we’re watching that one carefully.