Deputy Prime Minister, President of Law and Justice Jarosław Kaczyński spoke on the draft amendment to the media law known as lex anti-TVN. “We want to deal with this as soon as possible,” he said. Referring to the proposed amendment to the Agreement, he assessed that “the idea of buying by an OECD country is ridiculous, because the risk associated with it, including money laundering and entering the Polish media of the drug business, would be enormous”.
Jarosław Kaczyński in an interview for the Polish Press Agency referred to the draft amendment to the media law, known as lex anti-TVN. He was asked whether PiS would support Jarosław Gowin’s party amendment on this issue and whether the PiS club itself saw a need to amend this project.
– We want to deal with it as soon as possible. There is an amendment saying that the broadcaster cannot be purchased by any State Treasury company (amendment of the Kukiz’15-Direct Democracy circle – ed.). Anyway, there was no such plan, nobody could think of it, because there were sums that no state-owned Polish company could afford – answered Kaczyński.
– It would be contrary to the Commercial Code. These are the ideas of the opposition – he added.
Kaczyński on the amendment of the Agreement
– On the other hand, we believe that the idea of buying by an OECD country (amendment to the Agreement-ed.) Is ridiculous, because the risk associated with it, including money laundering, entering the Polish media of the drug business, would be enormous. Finally, let us remember that Russia is aspiring to the OECD, and eventually China may join the OECD, said the PiS president.
– It should also be remembered that such rights can only be granted on the basis of reciprocity. This, of course, is a dream zone for now, but it should be legally possible. In many EU countries, these regulations are much stricter – he added.
The amendment to the Agreement provides that the catalog of countries with access to the media market in Poland would include countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
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. Regarding the license for TVN24 two votes at the National Broadcasting Council took place on 22nd July. However, no decisions were made.
On July 27, the parliamentary committee on culture and media adopted the draft amendment of 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