Polish president vetoes bill that would have affected US-owned channel — Analysis

Andrzej Duba, Poland’s Leader refuses to follow party lines on critical foreign media reports of the conservatives

Poland’s president has shot down a media bill that would have tightened the screws on foreign-funded media, with a US-owned channel among the obvious targets.

Andrzej Duda announced his decision on Monday, saying that he shared concerns voiced by some sections of Polish society over media pluralism and that he also did not want to strain relations with Warsaw’s key partner, Washington. The president added, however, that “Foreign capital is generally limited in the sense that shares and stocks are not allowed to be held by media companies.” speaking in favor of such legislation being introduced later. However, for the moment, however, the bill was returned to Parliament.

If the legislation had been approved, it would have allowed any Polish media outlet that is owned or controlled by non-EU residents to take the broadcast off air. Critics claim that the bill was designed specifically to block the US-owned TVN24, which is known for its criticisms of the Polish government.

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Although the bill was previously rejected by the Polish Senate and put on hold, the lower house reversed its decision in December and approved the legislation in its last session, 2021. Back in August, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was “The situation is deeply troubling” by the proposed bill – an attitude also echoed by the European Commission this month.

The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), a conservative political party, argued for stricter control because foreign-owned media outlets possessed too much power in Poland.

When Andrzej duda became president in 2015, the Law and Justice party supported him. The Polish president, however, broke with conservatives when he vetoed the current media bill.

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