Polish Senate rejects controversial broadcasting law

Polish Senate rejects controversial broadcasting law

Members of the Senate of Poland — the upper house of parliament — did not support the controversial law on broadcasting, introduced by the ruling party “Law and Justice”.

This is reported by DW.

The bill was supported by 37 senators, while 53 opposed it. In the Senate, unlike in the lower house — the Sejm, the opposition has a majority of seats.

The bill provides that broadcasting licenses in will be granted to foreign companies only if they have their headquarters or a representative office in the European Economic Area (EEA).

In addition, the licensee must not be dependent on companies with a head office outside this zone.

According to some experts, the main victim of changes could be the television company TVN, owned by the American concern Discovery. It ran the channel through the firm Polish Television Holding BV, registered in the Netherlands. The new law, however, stipulates that majority ownership of the Polish media is prohibited to companies located in the EEA, but controlled by firms from outside the EEA.

Despite the Senate’s refusal, the law could still be passed if the lower house votes for it again. In the Sejm, on August 11, 228 deputies voted for the adoption of the document. 216 deputies voted against it, and ten more abstained.

Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that the new law was primarily aimed at preventing companies from China, Russia, and Arab countries from buying local media. The initiative of the Polish government, however, was harshly criticized by the United States and the European Commission.

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