On Wednesday evening, the Sejm adopted an amendment to the Broadcasting Act, known as the lex anti-TVN. 228 deputies voted for. Earlier, opposition deputies had requested that the Sejm session be adjourned, but after the stormy sessions of the chamber, the motion was rejected. Now the bill will be submitted to the Senate.
On Wednesday, the deputies discussed the draft amendment to the Broadcasting Act called the lex anti-TVN. The bill submitted by PiS deputies, in the unanimous opinion of commentators, targets the independence of TVN. Many journalists, politicians and institutions protested against the changes in the media law.
After 9 p.m., the draft was put to the vote in the Sejm. 454 deputies voted. 228 deputies voted “for”, 216 were against, ten deputies abstained.
Stormy debates of the Seym
The road to Wednesday’s vote on lex anti-TVN was winding and turbulent. Initially, during the Wednesday sessions of the Law and Justice Sejm, several votes were lost. The opposition managed to supplement the agenda with a few items, incl. for government information on the organization of the National Immunization Program or the National Reconstruction Plan.
In this situation, opposition MPs: Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz (KO) and the president of PSL, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, submitted motions to adjourn the proceedings until September. The Marshal of the Sejm, Elżbieta Witek, put this motion to a vote. Earlier, however, she announced that she would announce a break by September 15. 456 members took part in the vote.
229 MPs voted in favor of the motion to adjourn the meeting, including five MPs from the Covenant, Jarosław Gowin. 227 deputies voted against. Two PiS MPs did not vote. The motion was supported by the clubs KO, Lewica and PSL, Kukiz’15, Polish Affairs and Poland 2050, as well as independent MPs.
After the vote, Marshal Witek announced a 15-minute break. During the conference, TVN24 reporter Agata Adamek asked Kukiz’15 MPs: Paweł Kukiz and Jarosław Sachajka about the result of the vote. – Why did you vote for the postponement? she asked. – Because we were wrong – replied the deputies. Apart from Paweł Kukiz and Jarosław Sachajka, two other MPs from Kukiz’15 – Stanisław Tyszka and Stanisław Żuk – cast the vote “for”. However, Tyszka, via Twitter, said that in his case there was no mistake.
Reassumption of voting on adjournment of the session of the Sejm
During the prolonged break, opposition deputies reported that PiS MP Marek Suski was collecting signatures on a motion for a reassumption of the vote on the adjournment of the Sejm session.
At around 7.30 pm, the session of the Sejm resumed. Marshal Elżbieta Witek explained then that 30 deputies had requested a reassumption of the vote, as in the originally voted motion there was no date to adjourn the meeting. She also informed that she had consulted five lawyers who confirmed that the motion could be voted at this meeting. There were shouts in the room: “crooks, how much have you paid!” Some MPs stood up and turned towards the MPs from Kukiz’15, and MP Paweł Kukiz bowed in response.
After the rejection of the motion to adjourn the meeting, the Sejm resumed voting in accordance with the schedule.
The case of the license for TVN24 and lex anty-TVN
TVN24 is still waiting for its license extension. The application in this matter was submitted to the National Broadcasting Council in February last year, i.e. 18 months ago. Until today, no decision has been made.
Tvn24.pl report: DRAFT ANTI-TVN ACT AND A CONCESSION FOR TVN24 AND TVN
In a statement, the management of the station recalled that in 2015 the National Broadcasting Council approved 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 were held in the National Broadcasting Council on the TVN24 license on 22nd July. However, no decisions were made.
The representative of the proposers of the draft amendment to the media law, PiS MP Marek Suski, initially (on 8 July) claimed that the draft amendment was related to securing “against the possible entry of capital from hostile countries onto the Polish market”. On July 11, he said: – If this law is successfully passed and some part of these shares may also be bought by Polish businessmen, we will have some influence on what is happening on this television (…).