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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Disputed Polish bill aims to tighten media ownership rules: deputy FM

13.08.2021 13:45
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński said on Friday that disputed legislation passed by his country's lawmakers this week aimed to tighten media ownership rules and strengthen the protection of the domestic media market.
Paweł Jabłoński
Paweł JabłońskiPAP/Piotr Nowak

The contested bill, which was approved by Poland's lower house on Wednesday, provides that companies from outside the European Economic Area may own no more than 49 percent of the country's licensed television and radio stations.

Speaking in an interview with public broadcaster Polish Radio on Friday, Jabłoński said the new rules "don't discriminate against anyone."

"We just want Polish law to be tight," he added.

He argued that until now, "chains of fictitious firms" could be used to show that officially a broadcaster is owned by a European Union-based company.

The new regulations, which he said will probably take effect after a transition period, seek to close that loophole, Jabłoński told Polish Radio.

Under existing regulations, Poland's media market "is not adequately safeguarded against hybrid threats and disinformation," Jabłoński also said.

His remarks came in the wake of a statement by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said on Wednesday that Washington was "deeply troubled" by the new Polish media bill.

Blinken said it targeted the country's "most watched" independent television network, TVN, which is owned by US company Discovery.

A protest in support of US-owned private broadcaster TVN in the southern Polish city of Kraków on Tuesday. A protest in support of US-owned private broadcaster TVN in the southern Polish city of Kraków on Tuesday. Photo: PAP/Łukasz Gągulski

Discovery itself has officially informed Polish President Andrzej Duda and the government that it could take legal action over the new rules.

Jabłoński called the move an "emotional reaction."

According to Discovery, the draft legislation breaches the anti-discriminatory provisions of a 1990 Polish-US treaty on trade and economic relations.

The disputed media bill will now be sent to the upper house of Poland's parliament, the Senate, for further debate.

(pm/gs)

Source: polskieradio24.plPAP