The President of the Republic of Poland’s Letter to the Prime Minister Regarding Public Media

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    “In connection with 20.12.2023 actions by the Minister of Culture concerning public media, I call on the Prime Minister and members of the Council of Ministers to respect the Polish legal order” – wrote President Andrzej Duda.

    Dear Prime Minister,
    In light of today’s actions by Mr. Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, resulting in changes to the supervisory boards and management of Polish Television, Polish Radio, and the Polish Press Agency, considering the constitutional role of the President of the Republic defined in Article 126 of the Constitution, I urge you, Mr. Prime Minister, and the members of the Council of Ministers to respect the Polish legal order.
    The entire Council of Ministers has sworn an oath to me, as mentioned in Article 151 of the Constitution, committing themselves, in particular, to uphold fidelity to the provisions of the Constitution and other laws of the Republic of Poland.
    Political objectives cannot justify the violation of fundamental constitutional principles, including the principles of legality (Article 7 of the Constitution) and the principles of lawmaking (including Article 2 of the Constitution).
    According to Article 87 of the Constitution, the sources of universally binding law in the Republic of Poland are the Constitution, laws, ratified international agreements, and regulations. The Constitution also specifies the entities with legislative initiative, the procedure for enacting laws, considering the role of the Sejm and the Senate, as well as the participation of the President of the Republic of Poland in legislative proceedings, such as signing a law, sending it for reconsideration by the Sejm, or referring it to the Constitutional Tribunal under the preventive control procedure.
    Sejm resolutions are not acts of universally binding law within the meaning of Article 87 of the Constitution. Therefore, any attempt to circumvent or violate existing laws based on Sejm resolutions is inconsistent with the Polish constitutional order. A Sejm resolution does not have legal force to serve as the basis for the actions of state authorities with consequences for citizens. Such actions blatantly contradict the Constitution.
    It is worth recalling that, according to Article 2(1) of the Act of June 22, 2016, on the National Media Council (Journal of Laws of 2021, item 692), this Council is the competent body in matters of appointing and dismissing personnel in the bodies of public radio and television entities and the Polish Press Agency. It should be emphasized that the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal dated December 13, 2016 (case file K 13/16), invoked in public discussion, declared the provisions of the Act of December 30, 2015, amending the Act on Radio and Television, incompatible with Article 213(1) in connection with Article 14 and Article 54(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland because the National Council of Radio and Television was deprived of the competence to appoint and dismiss members of the management boards and supervisory boards of public radio and television companies. However, this judgment did not simultaneously find the Act on the National Media Council to be inconsistent with the Constitution.
    Any potential change to the entity authorized to appoint and dismiss personnel in the bodies of public radio and television entities and the Polish Press Agency requires legislative intervention and the enactment of relevant provisions in accordance with the Constitution. Only then will any changes be legally possible.

    With respect,
    Andrzej Duda
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