On TVN24, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcin Przydacz commented on the statement of US senators on lex anti-TVN. As he said, “there is no doubt that the freedom of the media is a value that is important in a democratic state ruled by law.” At the same time, he stated that he believed that in this matter “the sovereignty of the Polish state would be respected”.
Lex anti-TVN has become a common topic statements by US Democratic and Republican Senators. In their opinion, the amendment to the media law proposed by PiS would “violate the freedom and independence of the media and jeopardize American investment in the media in Poland.”
Przydacz: freedom of the media is an important value in a democratic state of law
This statement was referred to in the morning by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcin Przydacz. – There is no doubt that the freedom of the media is a value that is important in a democratic state ruled by Poland. However, I hope that congressmen from the United States are aware that these regulations on investment presence in the media infrastructure are those from the 1990s, later they were slightly changed after Poland joined the European Union – said Przydacz.
– Based on those regulations, external investors from outside the European Union cannot own more than 49 percent of the shares. It’s not like the law suddenly changes. It has been functioning like that for 30 years and a bill is being processed in the parliament to clarify it, said the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Przydacz: I firmly believe that media freedom will not be violated here
Rafał Wojda, the host of TVN24, responded to these words and drew attention to a fragment of the statement of American congressmen. – If defense, business and trade relations are mentioned first, it is not a coincidence – said the presenter. – I strongly believe that the sovereignty of the Polish state will be respected here and the possibility of creating legal conditions as seen by the Polish parliament – Przydacz replied. – But I also strongly believe that there will be no violation of the media freedom issue, because we should not discuss it. I think journalists in Poland have all the means to function – he said.
Przydacz questioned whether American congressmen “are fully aware of what the specific provisions of 1994 look like, what the provisions of the 2004 Act look like”. – I think that most Poles do not even have this awareness, so let us not require that congressmen from the United States exegise specific provisions from a dozen or so years ago, day and night – he said.
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.
Przydacz: It is difficult for me to predict what the Polish Sejm will do
In TVN24, Przydacz was also asked about the actions taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the face of possible financial sanctions from the European Commission for possible non-compliance with the decision and judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court.
– On the basis of the constitution, there is a tripartite division of powers. Legislative is the parliament and it also decides about the structures of common courts, so it is difficult for me to predict what the Polish Sejm will do, because it will decide on further actions in a legal sense – he said.
– When it comes to diplomatic activity, a change was made a few years ago. The prime minister’s office and the minister for European affairs, Konrad Szymański, who conducts dialogue with the European Commission and other institutions, are primarily responsible for foreign policy, said Przydacz. as he added, “the dialogue is certainly conducted actively so as to lead to the best possible solution to the dispute”. – It cannot be abstracted from the fact that the issue of the system of common courts is not an exclusive competence of the European Union. It belongs to the competence of the Member State, he stressed.
Main photo source: Mateusz Szymanski / Shutterstock