WARSAW Dec 18 Around two dozen members of
Poland's main opposition party extended their sit-in protest in
parliament on Sunday after talks to resolve a dispute over
proposed restrictions on media access failed to produce an
New rules for journalists in parliament put forward by the
ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party have led to the biggest
political standoff in years in the European Union state, with
protests spreading across the country on Saturday.
President Andrzej Duda was planning talks on Sunday to try
to defuse the row, while powerful PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski
also intervened to try to broker a resolution.
PiS has tightened its grip on state media and the legal
system since coming to power a year ago and been criticised by
Western allies over plans to reform the highest court which its
opponents say is an attempt to contravene democratic standards.
Kaczynski ordered a meeting between the speaker of the upper
house of parliament and about a dozen media representatives at
short notice late on Saturday.
After the meeting, speaker Stanislaw Karczewski said that a
consensus was reached to meet again on Monday and discuss
"No one has ever wanted to limit journalists' access to
important political events," PAP news agency cited Karczewski as
saying after the meeting.
Members of the opposition Civic Platform (PO) began their
protest on Friday, blocking the plenary hall podium ahead of a
A small group of protesters held an overnight vigil in front
of parliament until Sunday morning, with another demonstration
scheduled in defence of the constitutional court later in the
day and a pro-government rally afterwards.
Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has said the protest was just
whining by parties that lost an election in 2015 after eight
years in government.
However, there were signs of a more conciliatory approach
from her office on Sunday.
"It might be necessary ... to admit that our politicians
have inadequately communicated the proposed changes to the
journalists, to our society and the opposition used this as a
pretext," Pawe Szefernaker, the secretary of state in the
Chancellery of the Prime Minister, told the Radio ZET station.
(Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Keith Weir)