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Poland: media law shakes government

August 11, 2021

Poland’s nationalist coalition faces the biggest challenge to it unity after one of its three parties walked out ahead of the vote on the controversial law compelling Discovery to sell its controlling stake in TVN, Poland’s main independent broadcaster.

MPs are due to vote today (Wednesday) on a bill that would prevent companies from outside the European Economic Area from owning a controlling stake in Polish media companies.

The legislation is widely seen as an attack on TVN, which is often critical coverage of the government. Law and Justice (PiS), the largest party in the ruling coalition, say the law will protect Poland ‘from the entry of money launderers and “narco-businesses” into the country’s media sector.’

But Agreement, one of PiS’s two coalition partners, opposes the law. Its leader, Jaroslaw Gowin, said that the new law would hurt Poland’s image, damage its investment climate, and “above all expose us to a completely irrational fight with our main security guarantor, the US”.

The departure of all of Agreement’s 13 MPs would mean that the coalition would lose its parliamentary majority, which stood at just two. PiS officials said they hoped some of Agreement’s MPs would continue to work with the government, and claimed that they still had the votes to pass the media bill.

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