Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives in a statement released on Friday warned that the adoption of the amended media law in Poland would be in line with “a disturbing trend regarding independent media in Poland”. The deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, said he was “far from saying that such statements should affect the Polish legislative process.”
On Wednesday, the Republican and Democratic US senators resolved joint statement on the amendment to the media law known as lex anti-TVN entitled “The bipartisan group of senators warns the Polish government against introducing a law that targets free media and jeopardizes American investments”.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, US congressmen, including both Democrats and Republicans, warned that the adoption of the amended media law in Poland would be in line with “a disturbing trend regarding independent media in Poland.” Politicians wrote that the amendment will hit the investment “the American media company Discovery, which owns TVN24.”
The deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responds to the statement on lex anti-TVN
– I would not attach excessive importance to the statements of several members of the House of Representatives, and even less would I be far from saying that such statements should affect the Polish legislative process – said the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, when asked for the statement.
The politician emphasized that the reasons for the planned amendment to the media law had already been mentioned many times by its authors. – It is about sealing the media law and preventing the possible use of loopholes in media law. It seems to me that this type of position is sometimes the result of incomplete knowledge of the people who are signed under them – he emphasized.
When asked whether the Polish authorities reckoned with the fact that the introduction of changes to the media law would affect Polish-American relations, he stressed that “the Polish legislative process, the decisions of the Polish parliament take place in Poland, not abroad”, and similar regulations have been introduced in other countries and “no one considers them controversial”.
– It is important to heal various segments of Polish public life and introduce changes to them. This is paramount to the rule of the United Right. However, the challenge is to explain to our foreign partners what the real purpose of these changes is and what their consequences are. Sometimes it takes a little more explanation to avoid misunderstandings, ‘he said.
The lex anti-TVN project
On July 7, a group of Law and Justice deputies submitted to the Sejm a draft amendment to the Broadcasting Act. “The will of the legislator is that companies based in Poland cannot be controlled by entities outside the European Economic Area” – it was written in the justification. Commentators agree that the changes are aimed at TVN’s independence. TVN24 is still waiting for the National Broadcasting Council to extend its license, which expires on September 26. An application for its extension was submitted in February 2020. KRRiT claims that the problem lies in the “ownership situation” of the TVN group.
The station’s management wrote in a statement that in 2015 the National Broadcasting Council accepted the entry of American capital into TVN. Since 2016 – under the same ownership conditions – KRRiT has already issued licenses for TVN24 BiS, TTV and TVN International West. On the license for TVN24 took place On July 22, two votes at the National Broadcasting Council. However, no decisions were made.
The Parliamentary Culture and Media Committee adopted while on July 27, a draft amendment to the media law with amendments and sent it for further work.
TVN is owned by Discovery through its subsidiary Polish Television Holding BV in the Netherlands, and thus belonging to the European Economic Area.
Main photo source: PAP / Marek Zakrzewski