January 24, 2022

President veto controversial media law

The opposition believes that this text, adopted by Parliament on December 17, aims to silence the news channel TVN24, controlled by the American Discovery and considered critical of the conservatives in power.

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It’s a decision that follows to strong American and European criticism. Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoed a media law on Monday, December 27. The text, adopted by the Polish Parliament on December 17 and wanted by the populist PiS (Law and Justice) party in power, was to prevent companies outside the European Economic Area from holding a majority stake in media companies Polish.

The opposition considered that this text would have obliged in particular the American group Discovery to sell its stake in TVN, one of the largest private television networks in Poland. TVN24 is his 24-hour news channel, considered critical of the ruling conservatives. The PiS already controls public television TVP, which has become a major asset of the populist government, and most of the regional press.

The government for its part affirmed that the law should protect the Polish media landscape against potentially hostile actors, such as Russia. Andrzej Duda said he remained true to this principle, but the law should not undermine existing investments or go against international agreements.

The American charge d’affaires in Warsaw, Bix Aliu, had asked the Polish president to block this law. A spokesperson for the European Commission also said that this law introduced “serious risks for media freedom and pluralism in Poland”. Thousands of people also demonstrated on December 19, waving EU flags and chanting “Free media!” and “We want a veto!”.