Discovery Group takes legal action against Poland regarding media law

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Freedom of the press update

The American media group Discovery said on Thursday that it will take legal action against the Polish government, accusing the country of carrying out a “discriminatory campaign” on its Polish business TVN.

The announcement was made on the second day of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) and its allies Vote through Legislation that will prevent companies outside the European Economic Area from taking control of Polish media groups.

If approved by the Polish House of Lords and the President, the legislation may force Discovery to sell its shares in TVN, which is one of the largest US investments in the country and a major independent broadcaster.

Discovery said it is taking action because of the proposed legal change, passed by the Polish House of Commons during the turbulent meeting on Wednesday night, and its response to the government. 18 months of refusal Update its TVN24 news channel license.

“This legislation is the latest attack on independent media and press freedom, directly targeting Discovery’s TVN,” Discovery said in a statement.

“For many years, the current Polish government has targeted TVN in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner as part of a broader repression of independent media, directly violating the legal protection surrounding freedom of speech.”

PiS officials claimed that the law was needed to prevent companies from non-democratic countries from controlling Polish media. But these changes are widely regarded as an attack on TVN. A long time to find myself In the government’s crosshairs, because it is often the key report.

Discovery expressed the hope that the dispute will be “actively resolved”, but added that if this does not happen, it will take action under the US-Polish bilateral investment treaty and seek “full compensation for Poland’s breach of contract.” It did not specify how much this will be.

Polish officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside office hours on Thursday night.

Since coming to power in 2015, PiS has taken measures to undermine media World Press Freedom Index.

Last year, it used a state-owned refinery Buy it A media group that publishes 20 of Poland’s 24 regional newspapers and more than 120 local magazines.It also reduces public broadcasting To a Clark.

The change in media law has aroused condemnation from the United States and the European Union. Vice President of the European Commission Vera Jourova (Vera Jourova) stated that the EU needs a media freedom bill to promote press freedom throughout the EU.

She tweeted on Thursday: “Powerful democracies welcome rather than oppose media pluralism and pluralism.”

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken warned on Wednesday that changes in media laws could undermine Poland’s investment environment. “The massive U.S. business investment in Poland has tied our prosperity together and strengthened our collective security,” he said.

Polish Prime Minister Mateus Morawiecki hit back on Thursday, saying that the changes to the media law were not aimed at TVN.

“The purpose is to tighten the rules so that we don’t get into a situation where, for example, companies from outside the EU can buy Polish media at will,” he said.

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