By David Sophrin
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe
WARSAW, Poland – Facing growing public outcry, Poland’s Prime Minister announced on Thursday that he would be withdrawing the internship censorship legislation currently before the parliament.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s decision came amidst growing doubt regarding the constitutionality of the proposed internet restriction ban. The legislation had already been sent to Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal, a court designed to resolve issues of constitutionality. Prior to the decision to withdrawal the legislation, the Prime Minister held had an online discussion with some of the leaders of the legislation’s opposition.
The proposed internet censorship legislation was part of the government’s larger anti-gambling campaign. Under the proposed legislation, every internet provider in Poland would have been required to block certain websites selected by the government. The Office of Electronic Communication and the Office of the Finance Ministry, as well as a number of the nation’s law enforcement agencies, were to be in charge of regulating the website ‘blacklist’.
Public protests to the internet legislation were almost immediate. A petition of 77,000 signatures was submitted to Polish President Lech Kaczynski, requesting that he veto the legislation. Some in the opposition have been fearful that giving the government the authority to ban gambling websites may lead in the future to the banning of other websites that the government disagrees with. “Government [censorship] can be compared to gagging citizens even before they start to speak. It’s something that even George Orwell could not predict in his famous novel, 1984.”
For more information, please see:
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Poland Abandons Internet Censorship Plans – 18 February 2010
POLSKIE RADIO – Government abandons internet “black list” idea – 17 February 2010
WALL STREET JOURNAL – Polish PM Takes Censorship Debate Offline – 5 February 2010
POLSKIE RADIO – Protest against internet censorship in Poland grows – 29 January 2010