The Polish president blocked a controversial media law

The Polish president blocked a controversial media law

Polish President Andrzej Duda, Vetoed A controversial media law aimed at preventing foreign assets from controlling the country’s media, which has been hotly debated over the past few weeks. On December 17, the law was duly passed in Parliament, but if it was to be promulgated, it had to be signed by Duda: after the President’s veto, the chances of it coming into force with the current text were significantly reduced.

According to many critics of the Polish government, the law mainly targets TVN television, which is US-owned and considered one of the few independent sources of information in Poland.

The law was promoted by the right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS, the main party in the ruling coalition), and included a ban on companies outside the company. European Economic Zone To acquire a majority stake in the Polish media (including EEA, Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).

The prime minister of PiS, Mathews Moravici, has said the law aims to prevent the sale of Polish media to Russian, Chinese or Arab investors. However, in the opinion of many experts who criticize PiS, it has helped to strengthen government control over Discovery’s national television, TVN, the US group that controls the popular news channel TVN24, which has repeatedly criticized the semi – authoritarian government. Of Poland.

The law was approved by the Lower House (SJM) in August Big problems for the majority In finding the required votes, but in September the Senate (where the opposition had a majority) rejected it. It then returned to the chamber for a decisive vote on December 17, with 229 in favor, 212 against and 11 abstentions (the chamber could overturn the Senate’s veto by a third majority with an absolute majority).

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This was sharply criticized by the United States, and the administration of US President Joe Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, pressured the Polish government to leave TVN alone. In August, after the House of Representatives’ first approval, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said there was “deep concern” about the bill. Although formally independent, President Duda himself, who is associated with law and justice (PiS), has repeatedly expressed skepticism about the law and its possible repercussions on relations with the United States.

On Monday, he was forced to veto A message on live television, Duda said he agreed in principle that there should be a limit to the presence of foreign ownership in the media sector, but added that in this case the law would adversely affect a company operating legally in the media. Adversely affects the Polish economy. If Duda had passed the bill, Discovery would have had only six months to sell its stake in TVN.

According to the Polish Constitution, the lower house of parliament can reject the president’s veto with a majority of three – fifths deputies (460 in all). So the ruling coalition needs it 276 votes but now 228. lThe law will then be returned to the lower church for further reading.

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