Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk held a question-and-answer session Monday on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in the wake of his decision to suspend ratification of the measure.
Over 100 people registered to participate in the discussion, in which members of the public could participate, with others posting questions on the Twitter and Facebook pages of the prime minister's chancellery.
The session comes after Mr Tusk announced last Friday that he had suspended the domestic ratification process for the ACTA treaty, which the country signed recently.
Mr Tusk admitted that the government had not conducted a sufficient level of analysis prior to signing the agreement.
“Consultations about ACTA were incomplete,” he told journalists on Friday.
Many in Poland are opposed to ACTA, saying it will pose a threat to the freedom of speech and expression, especially on the internet. Opposition has even led to a number of street protests and the hacking of several government websites.
On Monday Mr Tusk started the Q&A session by again admitting that the government might have been too hasty in signing the agreement, though he added that “it was not done out of malice.”
Mr Tusk also said that he will do everything to address peoples' doubts about the deal.
“We will not ratify ACTA unless we are 100 percent sure that the debate will be an open one, and based on open documents and on transparency,” Mr Tusk said.
One of the participants in the debate said that if ACTA had been in place in the 1960s and 70s then the internet would never have come into existence. This comment was followed by applause from the audience.
Non-governmental organizations including Members of the Improvised Free Internet Congress, which includes the Helsinki Foundation, have issued a statement in which they wrote that they do not believe the debate will be carried out in conditions of transparency and openness.
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