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Poland's ruling party leader slams foreign media 'intervention' in election

WARSAW (Reuters) - The leader of Poland’s ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, on Thursday accused the foreign media - in particular in Germany - of repeatedly meddling in Sunday’s presidential election.

FILE PHOTO: Law and Justice (PiS) leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski wears protective mask as he attends the Polish Parliament session in Warsaw, Poland May 6, 2020. Slawomir Kaminski/Agencja Gazeta via REUTERS

Poland is gearing up for a close vote in the election pitting President Andrzej Duda, an ally of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, against centrist Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski.

The comments by the PiS leader Kaczynski, come after Duda slammed a German-owned tabloid newspaper last week for reporting on a pardon that he granted to a man who had served his sentence in a paedophilia case.

On Wednesday, Poland’s foreign ministry summoned a German charge d’affaires over a series of articles published in the German press.

“An unusually brutal, very far-reaching intervention by the press took place. Let’s not brush this aside. German press, simply said. In the future, we have to prevent these sorts of situations,” Kaczynski told Catholic broadcaster TV Trwam in an interview.

Duda has repeatedly criticized the foreign press during the campaign.

Trzaskowski has in turn criticised PiS for eroding media freedom and has accused public broadcaster TVP of bias and politicisation.

German politicians also criticised PiS’ position towards German-owned media outlets.

“The paranoia of Poland’s PiS government camp is leading to the usual reaction: Anti-German tirades meant to protect one of their politicians from a possible defeat in the elections,” Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, deputy chairman of Germany’s opposition pro-business Free Democratic party, told Reuters on Thursday.

PiS has long said it would like less foreign ownership of private media in Poland, accusing such outlets of anti-Polish bias.

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska, Andreas Rinke and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Editing by Frances Kerry