Polish parliament passes controversial bill, US reaction ‘extremely disappointed’

Polish parliament passes controversial bill, US reaction 'extremely disappointed'

Polish woman protesting attacks on press freedom. © NurPhoto via Getty Images

Poland’s parliament on Friday passed a controversial bill that would prevent companies from outside the European Economic Area from acquiring a majority stake in Polish media companies.

GVsource: Belgian

The European Economic Area consists of the 27 member states of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. The United States considers the media law an attempt by the Polish government to silence the TVN24 news channel owned by the American media company Discovery.

The Senate, in which the opposition has a majority, voted against the proposal in September. But on Friday, the ruling conservative right-wing Law and Justice party unexpectedly pushed the bill to the fore again, with 228 votes in favor and 219 against in the House of Commons. The bill is still awaiting signature by Polish President Andrzej Duda.

US ‘very disappointed’

“The United States is very disappointed that the Polish parliament passed the media bill today,” said Bex Aliu of the US Embassy in Poland. “We expect President Duda to follow through on his past statements and use his leadership to protect freedom of expression and business.” On the other hand, the Polish government believes that the law protects the Polish media landscape from potentially hostile forces such as Russia.

TVN24 is an ongoing news channel, which is considered critical of the country’s ruling conservatives. Since 2017, the news channel has been owned by Discovery, an American multinational that operates, among other things, the Discovery Channel and TLC television channels.

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