The president of Poland vetoed the media law criticized by the United States.

The President of Poland, Andrzej Doubt, vetoed a law on media ownership that, according to its critics, sought to silence the news channel TVN24, owned by the American Discovery. “I refuse to sign the amendment on radio and television and I return it to Parliament for it to be examined again. This means that I am vetoing it,” Duda said in a television message, after the law was widely criticized from the States. States and Europe.

The Polish deputies approved on December 17 a text that prevents companies outside the European Economic Area from having a majority stake in the Polish media. Thus, the American media group Discovery would be forced to lose its majority position in TVN, one of the largest Polish private television channels, of which TVN24 is its news channel. This signal is considered critical of the conservatives in power.

The government defends itself by saying that the law protects Polish media from potential hostile actors such as Russia.. Duda, who claims to agree with this principle, said it should not apply to existing trade and investment deals. “The people I spoke to are concerned about the situation. They have different arguments. They spoke of peace and tranquility … We don’t need a new conflict, a new problem. We already have many“said the president.

Duda is supported by the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), although they have already diverged on some issues in the past. In 2017, for example, Duda vetoed two judicial reforms that he said gave too much power to the attorney general, who is also the minister of justice.

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As for the controversial media law, the United States trade delegate in Warsaw, Bix Aliu, had asked Duda to veto the rule. “We hope that President Duda will act on his previous statements and use his leadership to protect freedom of speech and business,” Aliu stated. Along the same lines, the spokesman for the European Commission, Christian Wigand, pointed out that the bill posed “significant risks to media freedom and pluralism in Poland.”

The TVN network was publicly pleased with the veto announcement, stating that the Polish president had chosen to have “good relations with the United States.” Thousands of Poles had protested against the law this month outside the presidential palace in Warsaw.

The NGO Reporters Without Borders He said it was “good news for the freedom of the press, which is in a desperate situation in Poland”. Since PiS came to power in 2015, Poland lost 46 places in the organization’s press freedom index, and currently occupies the 64th position.

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