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Anti-TVN bill approved by a lower house committee

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A draft amendment to the Broadcasting Act has been approved by the Sejm Culture and Media Committee. Amendments submitted by Kukiz'15 and Marek Suski (PiS) have been included in the draft, while the one by junior coalition partner Accord has been rejected.

The Sejm Culture and Media Committee on Tuesday discussed a draft amendment to the Broadcasting Act, proposed by the ruling PiS party, and which would directly affect the independence of TVN. After 3 p.m., the committee approved the project together with some submitted amendments. 29 MPs took part in the vote, 16 were in favour, 12 against, 1 abstained.

Amendments by opposition, Kukiz'15 and Marek Suski

During the session, the MPs examined submitted amendments to the original project. Thanks to votes by PiS lawmakers, the committee rejected the opposition's bid to reject the project as a whole in the first reading, as well as a motion submitted by Urszula Augustyn (Civic Coalition) to hold a public debate. In both votes the results were identical: 12 in favour, 16 against, 1 abstention.

The committee approved, on the other hand, an amendment submitted by the Kukiz'15 party. It prohibits State Treasury companies to buy shares in private media.

Also approved was an amendment by Marek Suski (PiS) who represented the authors of the whole project. It assumes, among other things, adding a certain condition that would prevent companies based in Poland to be owned by entities from outside the European Economic Area. "Licence to broadcast radio and television programmes can only be granted to a foreign entity, whose seat or permanent residence is located in a European Economic Area member state, provided that such foreign entity is not dependent on a foreign entity, whose seat or permanent residence are located in a state that is not a member of the European Economic Area" - the draft reads.

Accord's amendment rejected

A long-announced amendment to the bill by a junior coalition partner Accord was rejected. Its main assumption was to add the OECD members, including the USA, to the list of countries exempted from the 49%-ownership limit.

TVN24 channel still waits for its broadcasting licence to be renewed by the National Broadcasting Council. The current licence expires on September 26, whereas the request for extension was filed in February of 2020.

The station is in the process of renewing its licence, but the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party is planning changes to the law that could force Discovery to sell a majority stake.

The National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) on Thursday voted on the TVN24 licence, which expires on September 26, but the results were inconclusive.

The KRRiT claims the problem lies in the "ownership situation" of the TVN Group. The TVN Group said in a statement that in 2015 the council had approved entry of American capital into TVN.

Since 2016 - under the same ownership situation - the KRRiT has already granted licence for TVN24 BiS, TTV and TVN International West channels.


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, TVN24