Polish media protest against latest bill

A new bill by the ruling party in Poland, passed by the lower chamber of parliament prevents non-EU companies from holding a controlling stake in Polish media. More than 1,000 journalists in Poland have signed an open letter to oppose the bill. 

This is the largest ever initiative of the country’s journalistic community.

Reporters and the opposition say that the bill is an attempt to tighten its grip on critical media. Over the past six years, Poland slipped from 18th place in a World Press Freedom Index, to 64th as compiled by the non-profit group Reporters Without Borders

The government has claimed that the law “in no way limits media freedom” and is intended to prevent media outlets from being “bought by an entity from Russia, China, or an Arab country”. In practice, it targets one particular, popular news station that is often critical of the government: TVN.

If passed by the Senate and President Andrzej Duda, the law will force the American media group Discovery to sell its majority stake in TVN and allow publicly owned companies to buy the station out.