The lex anti-TVN act has one place where it should be found, that is the Sejm shredder – said MP Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk (Left) in “Coffee on the bench”. According to MEP Krzysztof Hetman (PSL), PiS “needs to have the media and judges under its boot” to win the next elections. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Paweł Jabłoński (PiS), referring to the critical voices on the part of the USA towards the amendment to the media law, assessed that “any attempt to change the law” in Poland provokes a “hysterical” reaction.
On Sunday in “Coffee on the bench” on TVN24, politicians discussed the draft amendment to the media law, called lex anti-TVN, submitted by Law and Justice. In the opinion of commentators, the project threatens the independence of TVN, which is owned by the American Discovery through a subsidiary in the Netherlands. There are many critical voices in the context of lex anti-TVN, including from US senators and congressmen, as well as from other leading politicians and organizations in the United States.
Kierwiński: Kaczyński decided that he could sacrifice relations with the USA
MP Marcin Kierwiński from the Civic Platform judged that “Jarosław Kaczyński decided that he could sacrifice relations with the United States, as long as he had a better chance of winning the elections.” – Because these chances can only increase if there are no independent media. Because if there are independent media, they will point out all the scams you are doing – he said, addressing the representative of the government hosting the program – the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Paweł Jabłoński.
A similar position was expressed by MEP Krzysztof Hetman from the Polish People’s Party. – I agree that PiS does not hide it at all, it needs the media under its feet, it needs judges under its feet in order to win another term – he said. He added that the rulers “must raise taxes in order to have money for their distribution.”
Magpie on the lex anti-TVN act: I’d like to throw it in the trash
The vice-president of the coalition Agreement, Magdalena Sroka, said that “if someone wants to limit the freedom of the media, it seems to me that he was born not in this era”. – As an Agreement, we will never support this law. I would like to throw it into the trash – she admitted. She also recalled that her party had tabled an amendment to the bill, and its approval for the bill is conditional on its adoption. It aims to expand the catalog of countries where legal entities owning media operating in Poland may have their headquarters. In the PiS draft, these are the countries of the European Economic Area, and in the Agreement amendment also the countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and thus the United States.
According to Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk from the Left, “the Lex anti-TVN act has one place where it should be found – this is the parliamentary shredder”. – This law should not be bent over, it should not be corrected, negotiated, or any conditions should be imposed, but simply vote for its rejection in the first reading – she said.
– If the Agreement wants to present itself as a group that is not in favor of destroying the freedom and independence of the media, it should vote for the motion that the Left – if the bill goes to the Sejm – will immediately submit – she added.
Bosak about “abuse of law” by the National Broadcasting Council regarding the license for TVN24
Krzysztof Bosak, MP from the Confederation, referred to the still pending application by the National Broadcasting Council for the extension of the TVN24 license. In his opinion, “the form of pressure on TVN at the moment is the lack of a license decision”. – If the National Council (KRRiT – ed.) Thinks that TVN should not be entitled to a license, it should simply issue a negative decision. If he thinks it is right, let him make a positive decision – he said. – On the other hand, delaying a dozen or so months with the concession decision in a fairly simple matter, where the statutory criteria are specified, is an anti-example for all institutions in the country, how business and citizens are to be treated – said the MP.
In his opinion, “it is simply an abuse of the law”.
Deputy foreign minister Paweł Jabłoński from PiS, when asked about the criticism of the draft amendment to the media law by the American side, said: – We are constantly wondering how to solve this matter.
– Because today we are in a situation in which any attempt to change the law, and to change the law in such a way that the existing provisions are simply obeyed, evokes an incredibly unbelievable reaction, in principle hysterical – he assessed.
Lex anti-TVN and the issue of the license for TVN24
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 from 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: Leszek Szymański / PAP