January 29, 2022

Beyond Going Long

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Poles were protesting across the country against the bill on media freedom

Poles were protesting across the country against the bill on media freedom

On Sunday, Poles demonstrated in cities across the country for media freedom. The protests came after the House of Representatives unexpectedly passed a bill Friday that would force Discovery Inc. American. to sell its stake in Poland’s largest private television network, TVN, which broadcasts news critical of the right-wing government there.

Opposition leader Donald Tusk, for example, took part in the protests against the media law, calling on people to show solidarity and leadership. Gazeta Wiburcza, deputy editor-in-chief of Liberal newspaper, once again accused the government of silencing the media to secure the next elections in 2023.

The government is working to keep Poland away from the West

Joanna Glczyk Zubek, a participant in a demonstration in Warsaw, said the protests may have been stolen by the authorities, but the world should see. “In Poland there are not only supporters of Law and Justice (state parties), supporters of stupid propaganda, but there are also ordinary people who want to be citizens of Europe and want to establish good relations with the whole world.”

Many Poles believe that the government is turning Poland away from the West, and that their attempts to politically control the courts and silence critical media are heading toward an authoritarian model similar to Turkey or Russia.

break the veto

The law aims to prevent non-European owners from owning controlling stakes in Polish media companies, which government leaders justify over national security. The House of Representatives once approved the controversial standard, but the Senate rejected it in September.

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On Friday, the House of Representatives finally broke its veto. For the law to enter into force, it must be signed by President Andrzej Duda. Despite being an ally of the right-wing government coalition, his stance on the legislation is conservative and said he still has to analyze it.

Online petition

The United States, a close ally of Warsaw, called on lawmakers not to pass the law. After agreeing to the proposal, US Chargé d’Affairs Bex Ali said he was very disappointed and called Duda to “He used his leadership to protect freedom of speech and action.”

TVN launched an online petition on Sunday calling on Duda to veto the bill. Two million people had signed on by evening. “The attack on freedom of the media has far-reaching consequences for Poland’s future. Mutual relations with the United States, our country’s biggest ally and security guarantor, are being destroyed. We cannot allow that.” It came in the petition.

As promised by Discovery in a statement “Fight tirelessly for our business.”