The Internet Industry Employers Association IAB Polska expressed concern about the anti-TVN project. As we read in the announcement of the Union, the proposed changes “violate the constitutional guarantee of protection and respect for rightly acquired rights and the protection of interests”, while “significantly interfering with the capital structure” of the Polish media market.
Internet Industry Employers Association IAB Polska on lex TVN
“The proposed changes violate the constitutional guarantee of protection and respect for rightly acquired rights and the protection of interests in progress, significantly interfering with the capital structure of the Polish media market, and in addition in the form of a parliamentary draft, thus completely disregarding public consultations and the interested parties themselves. It is absolutely incomprehensible. introducing solutions that significantly change the terms of the license for broadcasting radio and television programs, which in addition will apply to entities that already carry out such activities and have valid licenses “- states in a release from IAB Polska.
According to the Union, although the authors of the project emphasize that the proposed changes are aimed at counteracting the threat to state security, they do not specify how to achieve this goal, and “what actions of countries outside the European Economic Area require such sudden interference in the structures of the Polish media market”.
“The possible effect of introducing the proposed changes is the risk of violating the pluralism and freedom of the media, which are principles that protect against the spread of disinformation. This, in turn, may increase the threat to state security in the context of hybrid activities – referred to in the justification to the draft, thus causing completely counterproductive, underlined in the press release.
It was added that “in the opinion of IAB Polska, the project initiator did not correctly identify the real threats on the media market, and too hasty regulation with the current wording of the draft may at best lead to blocking investments in the Polish TV market”.
Finally, the Association called “to suspend work on the project and to conduct another analysis in dialogue with entrepreneurs operating in the media market, which will allow for the development of optimal solutions and exclusion of the above-mentioned threats and violations”.
How KRRiT changed its decision on TVN
TVN24 is still waiting for the license extension by the National Broadcasting Council. According to “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna”, a few years ago the current president of Poczta Polska, Tomasz Zdzikot, signed an expert opinion on the basis of which the National Broadcasting Council recognized TVN as a European entity. Today, the head of the National Broadcasting Council, Witold Kołodziejski, calls such an interpretation of the regulations fiction. “DGP” got to the opinion on the sale of shares in a company with a Polish RTV license, which was prepared in January and February 2015 by the legal office of the National Broadcasting Council. At the time, KRRiT analyzed the acquisition of TVN by the American company Scripps Networks Interactive. “The buyer was a company registered in the EU and that was enough for the regulator,” the newspaper points out.
Anti-TVN project and 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 outside the European Economic Area” – it was written in the justification. Commentators agree that the changes are aimed at TVN’s independence. Sejm’s Culture and Media Committee during the session on July 27 adopted with amendments the draft amendment to the media law.
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. Two votes in the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) have been held in recent days regarding the license for TVN24. However, no decisions were made.
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: AGNIESZKA K. JUREK / TVN