Another blow to press freedom in Poland, where the future of the main private television channel (TVN) is now more than uncertain. By adopting, on the evening of Wednesday 11 August, at the end of a stormy parliamentary day, a law on the audiovisual sector stipulating that the Polish media can be owned no more than 49% by entities outside the European Economic Area, puts the TVN diet, owned by the Discovery Group America, faced with an impossible alternative: to stop broadcasting or change ownership.
The adoption of this law follows a series of pitfalls that have been placed in front of the chain. Its release license expires in September. A request to renew this mandate, which was submitted nearly eighteen months ago to the National Radio and Television Council, went unanswered.
Regularly appearing in the leading hearing-related inquiry group, TVN, which spares no criticism of the government, is a thorn in the side of Jaroslav Kaczynski, head of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, who does not value freedom. The tone of the private media, while the public channels have become propaganda devices of the highly conservative government.
The audiovisual law is part of a continuation of the strategy of weakening the Fourth Estate, made up of coercive attacks and intimidation. In February, the government’s provocation An unprecedented strike by independent media After the announcement of a future tax on advertising revenue affects them disproportionately. A few months ago, in December 2020, He welcomed PKN Orlen’s takeover of the major domestic and regional press group, partly state owned and operated by a member of the Law and Justice Party.
This new attack on media freedom sparked a wave of protests from civil society. The day before the vote, on the evening of Tuesday 10 August, demonstrations were held in dozens of cities across the country. Earlier today, a petition signed by more than 700 journalists and media personalities in support of TVN was submitted to Parliament.
The government used all means to pass the law, despite losing the majority in it
The slanderer also rose through the ranks of government, which caused a major political crisis. Having announced that he wanted to vote against the bill, Jaroslav Guen, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Borozomeni (“Agreement”) party, a member of the ruling coalition, was removed from his post on the eve of the elections, by decision of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
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