Polish president vetoes media law slammed by US

AFP

3 min read
Poland's President Andrzej Duda poses for a photograph during the NATO summit at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on June 14, 2021.
KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP / POOLPoland's President Andrzej Duda poses for a photograph during the NATO summit at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on June 14, 2021.

The law prevents companies from outside the EEA from holding a controlling stake in Polish media companies

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Monday vetoed a controversial media ownership law that critics said was aimed at silencing the US-owned news channel TVN24.

"I am vetoing it," Duda said in a televised statement, following heavy criticism of the law from the European Union and the United States.

The law, which was adopted by parliament this month, would have prevented companies from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) from holding a controlling stake in Polish media companies.

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That would have forced US group Discovery to sell a majority stake in TVN, one of Poland's most prominent private TV networks, and its news channel TVN24.

The government argued the law would protect Poland's media landscape from potentially hostile actors such as Russia.

Duda said he agreed with this principle, but that it should not be made to apply to existing business arrangements and investment treaties.

"People I've been talking to are concerned about the situation. They had different arguments. They spoke about peace and quiet... How we don't need another conflict, another problem. We have many problems already," he said.

Duda is strongly supported by Poland's ruling populist Law and Justice (PiS) party but has shown some differences with the party leadership in the past.

In 2017, he caused a storm by vetoing two judicial reforms that he believed gave too much power to the attorney general, who is also the justice minister.

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