Poland Polish president knocks out controversial media law, described by critics as major threat to press freedom

The law has been criticized by, for example, the Polish opposition, thousands of protesters and the United States and the European Union.

Polish president Andrzej Duda on Monday exercised its veto over a controversial media law that would restrict the activities of foreign-owned media in the country. For example, the news agencies Reuters and AFP report.

The upper house of the Polish parliament passed the law earlier this month. It would prevent non-EEA countries from holding majority stakes in Polish media companies.

According to the government, the purpose of the law is to limit the power of major foreign powers, such as Russia and China, in the Polish media. However, critics say it seeks to silence the TVN24 news channel, which is owned by US media group Discovery.

President According to news agencies, Duda said in principle that it was in favor of a law restricting the power of foreign powers in the media. However, according to him, the law should not apply to current corporate reorganizations or investment agreements but to future ones.

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“There are also issues of media diversity and freedom of expression. In making my decision, I took this matter seriously, ”Duda said, according to Reuters.

Prior to Duda’s decision, the law was criticized by, for example, the Polish opposition, thousands of Polish protesters, the European Union and the United States. European Commission spokesman Christian Wigand described the bill as creating “serious risks to media freedom and diversity in Poland,” according to AFP.

Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Poland Bix Aliu urged Duda to ban the law.

“We expect President Duda to act on his previous statements to use his leadership to defend freedom of speech and business,” Aliu wrote On Twitter on December 17th.

The upper house of the Polish parliament had unexpectedly passed the law on an urgent basis on the same day. In August, the proposal had been approved by the lower house of parliament.

Read more: The Polish parliament passed a bill that would restrict the activities of foreign-owned media in the country

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Private The TVN television channel is considered important, as the broadcaster TVP has become the mouthpiece of the administration.

The ruling party Law and Justice has also tightened its grip on the media with the takeover of leading regional newspapers and a proposal for a new “media tax”.

Read more: The ruling party strengthens its grip on the media in Poland: The state-owned company bought 20 leading regional newspapers

Read more: Polish media darkened itself in protest of government’s new “media tax”

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