Polish President vetoes Media Law on TVN’s share sale – The Hollywood Reporter

The President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, has vetoed a controversial new media ownership law that Discovery has condemned as an “attack” on freedom of expression and a threat to the future of the media. independence after the country’s parliament passed it before the holiday.

The controversial law was introduced to prevent companies outside the European Economic Area from taking a controlling stake in Polish television and radio companies. Critics say the law is designed to target Discovery, which owns Polish television giant TVN, which includes TVN24, Poland’s most-watched news channel and a network of reporters. Members often criticize the country’s conservative ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. .

TVN was acquired by Scripps Networks Interactive in 2015, ownership then transferred to Discovery in 2018 upon purchase of Scripps. According to the law, Discovery will have to sell a majority stake in TVN to reduce its holding ratio in the business to a maximum of 49%. With TVN’s license about to be renewed, some see the law as a first step towards a takeover of TVN by a state-controlled company that would be more PiS-friendly.

In a joint statement, Discovery and TVN called on Duda to prevent the new rules from becoming law. After Monday’s veto, Discovery said: “This is a victory for the Polish people. We commend the president for doing the right thing and upholding the core democratic values ​​of a free press and the rule of law, and we want to thank all viewers and everyone who attended. support this important issue”.

Duda agrees to the principle of limiting foreign ownership in media companies, citing laws on that matter in countries such as the US, France and Germany. But he also said that the passage of this bill would be harmful to a legally operating business and also damage Poland’s reputation as a place to do business.

Monday’s veto will also be seen as a victory for Discovery CEO David Zaslav. The country’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, called him “the head of the opposition” during a Zoom call between the two men, Vanity Fair said in a recent Zaslav filing.

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