Now Foreigners Can’t Own Media Companies in Poland; but just why is the US so Upset?
In a slap-bang move, Poland has closed a legislative loophole to prevent foreigners from owning media companies. Detractors say the aim is to silence news channels critical of the government.
This means the American owned news channel TVN24 is on the chopping block.
It didn’t take long for the US to slam the bill; they screamed about the importance of freedom of expression and how this would erode the confidence of investors; and other such like blah.
Look, if people are cynical over the US’s words, hypocrisy is at the root of it. When Germany banned RT’s YouTube channels there was no outcry over ‘media freedom; ’and this is only one example.
One observer commented dryly the US and EU were miffed that they were caught unawares by the timing of the bill as it didn’t give them time to meddle; as they do time and time again.
Must ask this; is the US more concerned about losing its propaganda arm and the ability to sway public opinion in Poland?
The passing of the bill just before the Christmas break is a success for the ruling nationalist Law and Justice party (PIS), as there had been a question mark over whether it could command enough votes to pass the much contested legislation.
The bill must still be signed by President Andrzej Duda before it can become law, and at this stage it’s not a given. He could still veto it.
Duda has indicated in the past that takeovers of foreign-owned media groups should take place on market terms; taken to mean he’s not in favour of forcing the issue.
The EU has weighed in; once this bill becomes law, the Commission will not hesitate to take action in case of non-compliance with EU law.
Now here’s an interesting titbit of information. TVN24’s parent company, TVN, is owned by Discovery via a firm registered in the Netherlands to get around a ban on non-European firms owning more than 49% of Polish media companies.
So, TVN24 is in breach of Poland’s laws already; this new bill merely puts a stop to it.
The management board of TVN24 called the vote “an unprecedented attack on free media” They vowed to defend their investments in Poland showing they don’t intend to go quietly.
The Law and Justice party has long argued that foreign media groups have too much influence in Poland, and distort public debate.
In response to this ‘you protest too much’ verbiage by the US many would say; just dispense with the pretence. Please!
Some more forthright would respond with; just blow it out your ass. Okay bro.