Media law in Poland: Duda’s veto – a “positive signal” for the USA

Status: December 28, 2021 8:45 a.m.

The Washington government has welcomed Polish President Duda’s decision to veto the controversial media law. The US had previously classified the law as a threat to media freedom.

The US government has welcomed the veto of Polish President Andrzej Duda against a planned broadcasting law, which has met with fierce international criticism. The veto is a “positive signal” before Poland takes over the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) from Sweden at the turn of the year, said the National Security Advisor of the White House, Jake Sullivan.

US President Joe Biden welcomed Duda’s refusal to sign the law in this form. Sullivan had previously telephoned Paweł Soloch, head of the National Security Office in Poland, and Duda’s foreign policy advisor Jakub Kumoch.

The USA and the EU see a threat to media freedom

Both the US government and the EU Commission had classified the law passed by parliament in Warsaw shortly before Christmas as a threat to media freedom. According to critics, the amendment was aimed at the private broadcaster TVN, which is part of the US group Discovery. The news channel takes a critical line against the national conservative ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), which has led the country with an absolute majority since 2015 and is also Duda’s political home.

A free and independent press makes a democracy stronger, the US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in the summer. Poland, as an important NATO partner, must demonstrate its commitment to these principles. The PiS had pushed the new broadcasting law with the declared aim of restricting foreign influence on the media.

Olaf Bock, ARD Warsaw, with a classification of Duda’s veto against media law

tagesschau24 14:30, 27.12.2021

“Bill damaged the country’s reputation”

Duda vetoed the controversial media law yesterday. He refused to sign the change in the law in this form, he said. This means that the plan, which was surprisingly passed by the Polish parliament in mid-December, cannot come into force, at least for the time being.

The bill has damaged the country’s reputation as a business location, said Duda. He stressed that he basically agreed with the government that the Polish media landscape must be protected from hostile actors. However, the relevant legislation must not be applied to existing contracts with companies and investors.

Duda appealed to the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, to find more suitable solutions to limit the participation of foreign companies in the media market. However, the Sejm could reject the president’s veto with a three-fifths majority.

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