Poland's media meet unexpected limitations in parliament

WARSAW, Poland (AP) " Poland's parliament has imposed unexpected restrictions on reporters, against earlier assurances that controversial plans to curb their movement have been waived.

Plans last month by the ruling conservative party to restrict media movement and journalists' access to lawmakers in parliament led to a political crisis and opposition sit-in in parliament. The ruling party had argued that the free movement of a large number of reporters with heavy equipment, and the presence of reporters who accosted politicians, were disruptive.

The party's leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is Poland's most powerful politician, said he was himself hit on the head by a camera several times.

Kaczynski declared that the restrictions would be abandoned following the protest.

But arriving for a session on Wednesday, reporters met parliament guards checking accreditations at an entrance to one of the corridors that had been freely accessible. Now, reporters can only conduct interviews there on lawmaker' consent.

"There were to be no restrictions but we are barred from our usual places for interviews. Is it some kind of a game?" said Justyna Dobrosz-Oracz, a video reporter for private Gazeta.pl news website.

Opposition lawmaker Slawomir Neumann said it was a wrong move, apparently meant to shun the media.

But Marek Ast, of the ruling Law and Justice party, insisted that working conditions for journalists have not worsened. The party's spokeswoman Beata Mazurek blamed the restrictions on parliament's officials.

The usual space for work and briefings and the main corridors remain unrestricted.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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