The diplomat and former Polish ambassador to the US Ryszard Schnepf commented on TVN24 on the statement of members of the US House of Representatives on lex anti-TVN. – Everyone, not only an intelligent, but a little experienced politician can understand that this means specific consequences – he said. Dr. Tomasz Płudowski, an American scientist and political scientist, noted that the statement focused mainly on the role of independent institutions in democratic countries.
A group of members of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs released a statement on Friday. 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 would hit the investment of “the American media company Discovery, which owns TVN24”.
The statement of congressmen was commented on Friday by Ryszard Schnepf, a diplomat and former Polish ambassador to the US, on TVN24.
Schnepf on statements by US senators and congressmen
– Let no one be deceived by such a serious, but at the same time courteous tone of these statements – said Schnepf, referring also to the Wednesday statements by US senators on the same matter. He added that “in this way, other governments are drawn to omissions, mistakes and serious issues.”
– This does not sound like a threat, because American diplomacy, American politicians do not use the language of direct threats or suggesting what the consequences may be. Anyone, not only intelligent, but perhaps a little experienced politician can understand that this means specific consequences – he explained.
According to Schnepf, this is not “just a warning”, but “a harbinger of possible moves we will not hear about”. – The American method is based on the fact that you speak elegantly, speak politely, remind you that maybe it is worth doing something differently, but then the steps that are taken are generally hard and can be extremely painful – said and warned the Polish government against “disregarding these words.”
What might the US steps be?
Among the steps that can be taken by the USA, Schnepf mentioned the lack of contacts at a higher intergovernmental level, e.g. visits by the US president to Poland, inhibition or withdrawal of investments. – We can expect that in the wake of the American retreat and restraint, there will be other steps that will mean a serious collapse for the Polish economy – he added.
He also mentioned security issues. – It will not mean that the Americans withdraw their troops, but they may reduce them a bit. They can also engage with less enthusiasm in the reconstruction or construction of the Polish defense potential. This may eventually mean that in a critical situation there will be no political decision that will be of vital importance to us – he said.
– The cold calculation, in which on the one hand is the interest of the Polish party and Polish security, and on the other the interest of the party and maintaining itself with the authorities, a bill was made and the gentlemen from the ruling party found that the station should be destroyed, because it is more important, even risking relations with the authorities. The United States, even risking Polish security. This is due to the fact that you are an effective observer and controller of what is happening in government spheres, that scandals are discovered, examples of theft, nepotism are exposed – assessed Schnepf.
He stated that “this game of dignity, of alleged sovereignty, is quite vile”. – Sovereignty in the modern world is not some nineteenth-century invention, that each country can shape its own existence and others will not influence it. Today the world is communal, the world is a global village. You have to take into account the interests of others in order to live together and to take advantage of the fact that we can be in the European Union, that we can have the American state as friends and many others – said the TVN24 guest.
“Clou of the Americans’ approach”
The statement was also commented by the Americanist and political scientist, Dr. Tomasz Płudowski. – You can see that it is quite a delicate language, but when we look at the content, the American side does not try to impose any decision here, but refers to the Polish tradition, mentions Solidarity and common values, especially those that are important to the Western world , liberal – he noted.
It was a reference to a fragment of the statement: “since Solidarity pushed Poland on the path of transformation from communist dictatorship to liberal democracy, strong, stable and cross-party support for Polish-American relations was based on joint support for the principles of democracy and the fundamental rights of all our citizens. growing concern over the ongoing attacks on the free press, independent judiciary and the rule of law in Poland. “
– This is the clou of the Americans’ approach – said Płudowski. – They pay attention to common values that bind Poland, the United States, but also all Western countries, i.e. countries belonging to both the European Union and NATO – he explained.
– They point out that it was really the Poles’ decision to join this world. Poles wanted freedom and they succeeded after many years. It was widely regarded, both in Poland and in the world, as a success. Therefore, departing from these principles would be a contradiction to the path we are on of our own free will, he said.
The Americanist noted that the politicians signed under the statement did not put American or business interests first. Instead, as he said, they drew attention to the role of independent institutions. – These are institutions that look at the hands of the authorities in a liberal democracy – he explained.
– This is what it is all about, this is the context of this act and the renewal of concessions: the ruling party is trying to set the field of public debate, the market of ideas, for the next elections (parliamentary in 2023 – ed.). (He) wants to remove from the market a source of information that is popular and at the same time completely independent of the ruling party – he assessed.
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: TVN24