Poland’s parliament controversially passed two controversial laws: They could threaten freedom of the press and compensation for Holocaust victims.
Warsaw – Are foreign media companies allowed to hold more than 50 percent of Polish media companies – or not more? And can decisions by authorities that are made illegally be challenged without a time limit? These two issues have heated the minds in Poland in the last few weeks. After a nervous battle in parliament, they were adopted late on Wednesday evening – and cause national and international protests.
The national conservative government of Poland was broken on Tuesday – but the vote took place today.
Poland’s parliament votes on broadcasting law – although the vote had already been postponed
The media law prohibits companies outside Europe from owning more than 49 percent of Polish media companies. The crux of the matter: This could force the US media group Discovery to sell the majority of its shares in the government-critical Polish private broadcaster TVN. Since the government already has full control over the public television broadcaster TVP, which has become the propaganda organ of the PiS, as well as over a large part of the regional press, critics now fear the end of freedom of the press in Poland.
First, the opposition won a vote to postpone the meeting to early September – a real battle of nerves ensued. However, Parliament President Elzbieta Witek of the ruling PiS party decided, amid protest by the opposition, to repeat the vote. The second vote was won by the governing coalition with the support of the anti-system party Kukiz 15. The vote on the media law then resulted in 228 votes in favor to 216 against. The opposition has questioned the legality of the new law and accused the government of buying votes for the vote.
Poland’s parliament hampers compensation for Holocaust survivors – Israel protests
On the other hand, the amendment to the law on administrative issues still has to be submitted to the President for signature. Critics, including from Israel, fear that the law would make adequate compensation for Holocaust victims impossible. The law would stipulate that administrative decisions cannot be appealed after a period of 30 years. Victims of expropriation during the Holocaust, for example, refer to their illegality.
“The State of Israel will in no way compromise on the memory of the Holocaust,” said Israel’s Foreign Minister Jair Lapid. He condemned the new law, “that both the memory of the Holocaust, and the rights of
Victim damaged ”. Lapid called on Poland to repeal the amendment to the law. (dpa / kat)