Deputy PM: state-run firms should buy foreign media outlets
Polish state-run companies should take over media outlets from their foreign owners as part of the government's planned changes to the industry, Deputy Prime Minister and Culture Minister Piotr Gliński said on Tuesday.
Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has long insisted that foreign-owned outlets distort the public debate and are unfairly critical of its government.
PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński said in August that Poland was ready to craft rules to reduce foreign ownership of media outlets such as newspapers and TV channels, but no draft legislation or proposals have since been made.
Earlier this week The Economist reported, without providing sources, that German publishing group Verlagsgruppe Passau was said to be in talks with Poland's state-run oil refiner PKN Orlen about the sale of its Polish arm, Polska Press.
PKN Orlen has not been available to comment, while VGP declined to comment.
Asked whether PKN will be taking over Polska Press, Gliński told private radio RMF on Tuesday: "You have to admit that this is not a normal situation, that almost all regional press is firstly in hands of one corporation, and secondly in a German corporation."
"Most likely Polish state companies should be buying media where this is possible," he added, saying he had no knowledge of whether such talks were taking place.
PiS officials said earlier that the reforms would focus on reducing the proportion of foreign ownership allowed in media companies and would be modeled on existing legislation in France and Germany.
Criticism by opposition
Deputy Prime Minister's words met with critical response by senators from the Civic Coalition opposition alliance. The head of the culture and mass media committee Barbara Zdrojewska expressed her deep outrage.
"The very fact that such words come from the culture minister is outrageous, as it's the culture minister who should be striving to keep the media diverse; to keep them as diverse as possible, decentralised, representing various points of view" - she said.
Zdrojewska added that it's in the best interest of the state, society and young democracy to have the media as diverse as possible. "Such comments, made by high state officials, only cause our credibility in Europe and the world to diminish" - said the senator. She also pointed out that cases of state enterprises buying private media have so far been seen in Hungary and Russia.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Łukasz Gągulski/PAP