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Polish President veto media bill targeting US company

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Polish President veto media bill targeting US company

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The Polish president said he decided to veto a media bill that would have forced the American company Discovery to give up its majority stake in TVN, a Polish television network

WARSAW, Poland – The Polish president said on Monday he had decided to veto a media bill that would have forced the American company Discovery to give up its majority stake in TVN, a Polish television network .

President Andrzej Duda noted that the bill was unpopular with many Poles and would have damaged Poland’s reputation as a place of commerce.

The bill, recently adopted by the lower house of parliament, would have prevented any non-European entity from owning more than 49% of the capital of television or radio stations in Poland.

Its practical effect would have targeted a single existing company, Discovery Inc., forcing the US owner of Poland’s largest private television network, TVN, to sell most or all of its Polish holdings.

Many Poles saw the bill, pushed by the ruling Law and Justice party with which Duda is aligned, as an attempt to silence a broadcaster that broadcasts independent and often critical reports of the authorities.

There have been recent nationwide mass protests in support of the station and freedom of expression in general.

Discovery had threatened to sue Poland in an international arbitration tribunal.

Duda said he agreed with the principle that countries should limit foreign ownership in media companies, saying that many other democratic countries – including the United States, France and Germany – have a such legislation.

But he also said that in this case the law would have harmed a company already operating legally in Poland.

He noted that signing the bill would have cost the nation billions of dollars, and said he shared the view of many of his compatriots that this bill was not necessary for the nation. moment.

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