Polish president bans controversial media law

Polish President Andrzej Duda, Prohibited A controversial media law that has been hotly debated over the past few weeks is intended to prevent foreign assets from controlling the country’s media. On December 17, the law was formally approved by parliament, but Duda had to sign to announce it: After the president’s veto, the chances of it coming into force with the current speech have been significantly reduced.

According to many critics of the Polish government, the law mainly affected TVN television, which is owned by the United States and is considered one of the few independent sources of information in Poland.

The law was promoted by right-wing law and justice party (PiS, the main party in the ruling coalition) and included a ban on outside companies. European Economic Area (Includes EEA, Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) Must hold majority stake in Polish media.

PiS Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the aim of the law was to prevent the Polish media from being sold to Russian, Chinese or Arab investors. But according to many experts, critics of the PiS have, above all, helped to strengthen government control over TVN, the US television group Discovery’s national television, which manages the popular news channel TVN24, and has repeatedly criticized the semi-official government. Poland.

The law was approved by the lower house (Sejm) in August Big problems for the majority In finding the required votes, but in September the Senate (where the opposition has a majority) rejected it. It then returned to the debate in the Chamber, where on December 17 229 voted in favor, 212 against and 11 without a vote.

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This was strongly criticized by the United States, and both the administration of US President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump forced the Polish government to leave TVN alone. In August, after the House’s first approved it, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said he was “deeply concerned” about the bill. Although legally independent, President Duda, who deals with law and justice (PiS), has repeatedly expressed doubts about the law and its possible consequences in relations with the United States.

On Monday, he promotes his veto A message on live television, Duda said he agreed in principle that there should be a limit to the presence of foreign rights in the media sector, but in this case the law would be detrimental to a company that is already legally operating in the media. Poland, and the negative impact it would have had on the Polish economy. Had Duda passed the bill, Discovery would have had only six months to sell its shares of TVN.

The House of Representatives of the Polish Constitution provides that the House of Representatives can reject the President’s veto with a majority of one – third of the delegates (they total 460). Therefore, it is necessary for the ruling coalition 276 votes but at present it is only 228. lThe law will then be returned to the lower house for a new reading.

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