Strong words fill me with hope that Poland will uphold values such as freedom of speech and media independence – says Kasia Kieli, President and Managing Director of Discovery EMEA in an interview with Piotr Kraśko. – The home of TVN24 is Poland – he adds. The management board of TVN SA announced that TVN24 received a Dutch broadcasting license. We are still waiting for the Polish license, because there are no grounds for the National Broadcasting Council not to extend our license.
Piotr Kraśko: What is the situation with the TVN24 license at the moment?
Kasia Kieli: In a word: safe. As we announced yesterday, the license was granted, we got a Dutch license. Speaking of this license and the TVN24 situation in general, it actually solves two basic problems. One problem that was very important is that TVN24 has been broadcasting for 20 years. It has been at our viewers’ homes for 20 years, it is the most watched and chosen news station because our viewers trust TVN24 and the people who create it. We cannot fail this trust and we did not want to fail. We want to be able to broadcast and be able to continue.
The second, equally important aspect for us is the fact that TVN24 employs over a thousand people. A thousand people associated with this station, a thousand families relying on these people to work here will be employed here.
This concession solves both of these problems.
But because we meet all formal requirements, we submitted the relevant documents a year and a half ago. We are still counting on obtaining a license in Poland.
Yes of course. Me and everyone on the Discovery side believe that the home of TVN24 is Poland. We should be here. We meet all legal requirements, there is no room for interpretation at all. That license should just be granted.
I would like to point out that we waited until the last moment and we did not apply for the Dutch license until July. Because we waited until the last moment to obtain a license in Poland. We can’t do any longer, because it would endanger the presence of this station. We couldn’t wait any longer.
Nevertheless, I hope and appeal to the National Council that it will grant us this license, and after September 26, we will be able to continue broadcasting under the Polish license.
One more remark that comes to mind is that the license for TVN24, the Dutch one, will join the Discovery family. We in the Netherlands license over 170 channels. We are one Europe, we can broadcast channels in Europe that are licensed in different countries. We have over 170 concessions there, and the Netherlands reports directly to me. TVN24 will be in this entire Discovery family.
Let us explain, because the viewer watching the channels in Polish does not have to wonder where the license was granted. This would not be an exceptional situation, although we would like to broadcast on the basis of a license granted in Poland. But there are many channels broadcasting in Polish with a license granted in another European country.
Yes of course. We live in one Europe, one of the European laws when it comes to broadcasting is cross-border television. If there is a channel licensed in one European country, it can broadcast to other European countries.
This does not change the situation that the TVN24 channel has been broadcasting in Poland for 20 years and meets all the requirements. It is somewhat incomprehensible why he could not remain and why Poland should not be his home.
We are counting on a license in Poland, we have a Dutch license, but this does not in any way solve the problem posed by the Lex TVN Act, already adopted in the Sejm.
This is a completely separate matter. It’s important to understand why these are two separate things. Lex TVN is not directly related to TVN24. Lex TVN hits more with stations such as TVN, the station that greets us every day “Dzień dobry” TVN, where for years we have been watching “Na Wspólnej”, “Kitchen Revolutions”, “Top Model” and all programs that are watched by crowds of Poles , from every possible option and which have enjoyed viewers for years.
I wish we could understand that. They are two completely separate entities. Lex TVN threatens this main TVN.
Kasia, many people are afraid of it, and maybe some people are counting on it, because Discovery is a gigantic, global corporation that just wants to make good TV in the world that is loved by viewers. But it’s also a business. Maybe someone will think that the Americans, the owners will think: “why do we need these problems in Poland, it is so unpredictable, we invest here, operate, develop, make long-term plans, and suddenly it turns out that you can almost snap your fingers and change reality “. Do you think there is even a reflection on the Americans’ side as to whether it is worth being here?
I think we definitely have very, very strong support from our owner, our parent company, so to speak, that is Discovery, which is determined to defend its business here in Poland. Of course, this creates a fairly strong foundation for us. But you are right to say that it is sometimes incomprehensible because let’s consider the situation.
In 2015, an American company came and invested according to the existing Polish law then and until today in good faith in business in Poland. Suddenly, it turns out that the law will be changed in such a way that this business is taken from her. Today, TVN is worth over PLN 10 billion and we, as owners, learn that this structure, which has operated for all these years, is now unacceptable. Of course, this raises questions: “why?”, “Why American capital, it is known that the Americans uphold freedom of speech, freedom of the media, is, say, worse than British or German”. Because we are talking about one Europe.
Main photo source: TVN24