Monday, July 21, 2008

Crib sheets for Polish government politicians?

Opposition politicians are outraged that the government has a central communications department which makes sure ruling party members stay ‘on message’.

According to the Dziennik daily, the department of communications at the Prime Minister's Office sends out instructions to politicians belonging to the ruling Civic Platform (PO) party on what they are supposed to say in the media.

The daily writes that the instructions spell out how PO members are to criticize the President and praise PM Donald Tusk whenever they talk to the media.

The revelations have sparked fury in the opposition – the Law and Justice party demands that the PM reveal all 'cribs' sent to his party members. Head of Law and Justice parliamentary club Przemyslaw Gosiewski called the crib sheets "one of the biggest scandals of the last few years", as according to him, government institutions are being used to slander the head of state.

Michal Kaminski from the President's office said that instructions on how to criticise President Lech Kaczynski are not only outrageous but are breaking the law. He said that PM Tusk is pulling wool over the public's eyes by assuring of his will to cooperate with the president while at the same time his advisers are working on 'black PR' against the head of state.

PO's Zbigniew Chlebowski denied allegations saying that the instructions are not cribs, but a monitoring of the media. "They are not instructions for how politicians are to act. They are just a monitoring of the statements made by government and particularly Civic Platform politicians," explained Chelbowski.

But Civic Platform is not the only party that sent out such instructions to its members. At the end of last year, Gazeta Wyborcza revealed that Law and Justice issued a 'guide' on how to criticize PM Tusk.