11 December 2023,   04:35
Thousands protest media ownership law targeting Poland’s biggest private TV network

Protests have taken place in dozens of towns and cities around Poland today in response to parliament passing a bill that would force the American owner of the country’s largest private broadcaster, TVN, to sell its majority stake, writes notesfrompoland.com.

Meanwhile, almost 2 million people have already signed a petition launched this morning calling on the president to veto the proposed law. Many rival media organisations have also expressed their solidarity with TVN.

They argue that the freedom and plurality of Poland’s media landscape is threatened by the bill, which would ban entities from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) from owning Polish outlets. That would in practice hit TVN, which is owned by US conglomerate Discovery, Inc. The station’s coverage is often critical of the government.

But supporters of the legislation – which was passed by the ruling national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party – argue that it would simply close a loophole in the existing law, that it would mirror the rules in some other EU countries, and that it is in Poland’s national interest to prevent foreign ownership of media.