Polish President Duda Vetoed a Controversial Law on Broadcasting
On December 17, the Sejm adopted a bill introduced by the ruling National Conservative Law and Justice Party (ZIS). The document assumes that broadcasting licenses in Poland will be issued to foreign companies only if they have a headquarters or representative office on the territory of the European Economic Area. In addition, the license recipient should not be dependent on companies that have a head office outside this zone.
The bill has attracted criticism from the European Commission and the US authorities. Many experts pointed out that the main victim of the changes could be TVN, owned by the American Discovery concern, which managed it through Polish Television Holding BV, a company registered in the Netherlands. In mid-December, tens of thousands of people in a number of Polish cities protested against the controversial project.
ZIS already controls Polish Public Television (Telewizja Polska) and most of the regional press. Since the Conservatives came to power in 2015, Poland has dropped 46 positions in the annual Press Freedom Index ranking.