The anti-TVN law was adopted by the Sejm on Wednesday. “The United States is deeply concerned about the bill passed by the lower house of parliament, targeting the most watched independent station, which is also one of the largest US investments in the country,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a statement. “Shared values mean our common security,” he underlined on Twitter.
On Wednesday, the Sejm adopted an amendment to the Broadcasting Act known as the anti-TVN act. The bill was supported by 228 MPs, with 216 votes against and 10 abstentions. In the opinion of commentators, the PiS project targets the independence of TVN. Many journalists, politicians and institutions protested against the changes in the media law.
Two bills that worry the US
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the United States was “deeply concerned that the Polish parliament passed laws that drastically restrict the process of seeking restitution of property unfairly confiscated during the communist period in Poland.”
“We urge President Duda not to sign the bill or, in accordance with his powers, refer the bill to the Polish Constitutional Tribunal,” wrote Blinken. As he stated, Poland needs a comprehensive law that would ensure justice for the victims. He added that as long as this does not happen, the way of pursuing claims in administrative proceedings should not be closed. “Such a law would benefit many Polish citizens, as well as people who were forced to leave Poland during and after World War II,” he added.
“The United States is also deeply concerned about a bill passed by the lower house of parliament targeting the most-watched independent station, which is also one of the largest American investments in the country,” pointed out Antony Blinken.
The head of the American diplomacy emphasized that Poland had been working on the development of free media for decades. “This project would significantly weaken the media environment for which Poles have worked for so long,” he assessed. “This project threatens media freedom and may undermine the good investment climate in Poland,” he added.
Antony Blinken admitted that Poland is an important NATO ally, but the indicated legal acts “contradict the principles and values behind which modern, democratic nations stand”. “We call on the Polish government to show commitment to these common principles not only with words but also with deeds,” he concluded.
“Our common security”
Antony Blinken also wrote on Twitter that the United States is concerned about changes in media and property restitution laws. “Our common values mean our common security” – he emphasized.
“The US is disappointed with the decision of the Seym to limit the compensation process for real estate seized by the communist government and the law weakening media freedom in Poland. The transatlantic alliance is based on common values, and common values mean common security” – wrote on Twitter Bix Aliu, charge d ‘ affaires of the American embassy in Poland, retweeting Blinken’s entry.
State Department spokesman on the anti-TVN law
Earlier, before the anti-TVN law was adopted by the Sejm, the spokesman of the US State Department Ned Price was asked about the anti-TVN law at a press conference. As he said, the American side is looking at both the amendment to this act and the provisions on the restitution of property confiscated from owners after World War II.
– Poland is an important ally in NATO, which understands that the transatlantic alliance is based not only on mutual interests. We are talking here about our common security, but also about common commitment to democratic values and prosperity – said Marcin Wrona, answering a question from the TVN correspondent of “Facts”.
– When we talk about the media law, we know that free and independent media make our democracies stronger, make the transatlantic alliance more resilient – also against those who would like to split the alliance and separate us – and are a fundamental component of our bilateral relations with Poland – Price was saying. He added that this is why the State Department urges the Polish government to demonstrate its readiness to stick to common principles, “not only in words but also in deeds”.
As Price said, in the last hours before the session of the Sejm, representatives of the US diplomacy “at a very high level” talked with representatives of the Polish authorities. According to information from the Polish Press Agency, it was the No. 2 person in US diplomacy, the deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman.
Main photo source: Reuters Archive