WARSAW (Reuters) -Poland’s broadcasting regulator on Wednesday prolonged an working licence for the favored U.S.-owned, anti-government information channel TVN24, however questioned if it had the suitable to proceed working, asking the federal government for authorized readability.
Critics say TVN24 is a first-rate goal in ruling occasion efforts to quash media freedom, with opposition politicians calling the regulator’s query over the broadcaster’s proper to function a approach to pander to the ruling nationalists’ voter base.
Poland’s ruling Regulation and Justice (PiS) occasion has lengthy argued that foreign-owned media distort public debate and don’t serve Polish pursuits. Critics say the federal government solely desires to regulate the media and curb free speech.
“The decision has no binding energy… but it surely’s a sign to PiS’s core voters that they will not surrender in attempting to take over the unbiased press,” Jan Grabiec, a spokesperson for Poland’s main opposition grouping Civic Platform, informed Reuters.
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For the reason that occasion took workplace in 2015, Poland has dropped to sixty fourth place from 18th on the World Media Freedom Index.
It is unclear what the following steps can be or what penalties they may have for TVN24.
The licence of TVN24, which is Poland’s hottest information channel, was set to run out on Sept. 26. Its destiny was unsure after the decrease home of parliament handed a invoice final month to strengthen a ban on companies from exterior the European Financial Space controlling Polish broadcasters.
The opposition-led higher home of parliament rejected the media invoice, however the chief of PiS signalled the occasion would attempt to overturn the rejection earlier than the top of September.
PiS nonetheless is combating to retain its majority within the decrease home.
TVN, the father or mother firm of TVN24, is owned by U.S.-based Discovery Inc by way of a agency registered within the European Union to stick to the necessities of the ban on non-European companies proudly owning greater than 49% of Polish media.
If TVN24 had not acquired the extension, it was anticipated to proceed working beneath a Dutch licence.
Though the regulator prolonged the licence, it stated in a separate decision that it will ask the federal government for clearer laws on the possession query, in addition to authorized clarification from the Constitutional Tribunal.
“The licence has been prolonged to guarantee that TVN24 does not go into Dutch palms, which implies it stays beneath Polish jurisdiction,” Teresa Bochwic, the deputy head of Poland’s broadcast regulator, stated in a tweet.
Discovery and TVN didn’t instantly reply to Reuters requests for remark.
(Reporting by Alicja Ptak; Writing by Joanna Plucinska; Modifying by Sonya Hepinstall and Alex Richardson)
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