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Thursday, July 8, 2021

US-owned broadcaster in Poland may lose license due to merger


 The National Broadcasting Council does not rule out that it will revoke the license to all TVN stations if Warner Media merges with the Discovery group they currently belong to.

The subject of the dispute is related to Article 35 of the Broadcasting Act. According to the Act, a license may be issued to a person or company located in Poland or the European Economic Area. The current concession complies with it because the owner of TVN - the Discovery - manages the station through Polish Television Holding BV, registered in the Netherlands. However, the situation will change with the finalization of the announced merger between Warner Media and Discovery.

Since TVN stations are very critical of the current government, many people try to make it a "freedom of speech" issue and control over media.

Even Reuters got into the dispute by quoting the Prime Minister in the wrong context. 

PM spoke about an amendment to the current media law designed to prevent a takeover of the media by hostile entities outside the EU like Russia or China without the consent of the Polish regulator. (Warner may be a US company but the regulators want to make sure it is not controlled by Russia or China.)

"A serious state cannot be like a passive leaf in the wind, where when someone blows the air, we must follow. We have instruments that will ultimately help us decide whether a given acquisition is appropriate on Polish soil, on the territory of the Republic, or not." 

Reuters made it look like an excuse to take the license away and control "free" media.

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