The Polish parliament has passed a controversial media law. The introduction of the law has direct consequences for the critical news channel TVN24, which is in the hands of Americans. A vote on the law was not on the agenda of the House, but was discussed and dealt with at the last minute. It only took a few minutes.
With this law, the Polish government wants to prevent companies from outside the European Union from owning more than 49 percent of the shares in media companies. Critics say the law targets TVN24, which is critical of the current Polish government.
The company is owned by the American media giant Discovery, which broadcasts broadcasts in Poland through a subsidiary in the Netherlands. With a new media law in hand, the Polish government can silence the channel.
Polish press organizations have called for mass protests next Sunday. They speak of the biggest attack on freedom of expression since 1989. “We don’t want Poland to follow the same path as Russia and Hungary. The government wants to shut down independent media. They know that their main opponent is the truth.” They report in an open letter.
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In Parliament, 229 deputies voted in favor and 212 against. The bill was approved by the Senate in September I stopped, but this objection has now been rescinded. An opposition member said she was informed 24 minutes before the vote that the media bill would be voted on.
The vote will undoubtedly lead to tensions with the United States, a staunch ally of Poland. According to the US Chargé d’Affairs in Poland, the US is “extremely disappointed” with the passage of the law.
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