Polish regulators renew license for Discovery-owned channel


WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Polish broadcasting regulators extended the license of TVN24, owned by Discovery Inc., at the last moment on Wednesday, but also passed a resolution to pressure the US company to sell its majority stake in the TV news channel, which broadcasts critical coverage of the Polish government.

The National Broadcasting Council, known by the Polish acronym KRRiT, had delayed the renewal of TVN24’s license for almost two years. The independent TV channel is watched daily by millions of people in Poland. His current license expires Sunday.

Discovery said the news of the extensions was “bittersweet” because it showed there was no reason to delay or deny the extension’s renewal.

He said in a statement that the regulator’s resolution is cause for concern and “undermines the democratic legislative process itself.”

“The rule of law, freedom of the press and the stability of foreign investment are still seriously threatened” in Poland, Discovery said.

The ruling Law and Justice party in Poland has sometimes denounced the TVN24 channel. He is also trying to pass a law through parliament to ban non-European ownership of broadcasters, a move seen as an effort to restrict media freedom in Poland. However, the party cannot be sure of winning enough votes for the law.

Before extending the license of TVN24, the council unanimously adopted a resolution stipulating that owners from outside Europe cannot own more than 49% of the capital of radio or television stations in Poland. .

The resolution is seen as a move to force Discovery to sell the majority of its stake in TVN24 and its sister channels in Poland, without the need to pass the controversial law.

The leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has repeatedly stated that he wants the Polish media to be controlled by Polish owners.

Since coming to power in 2015, the party has made the public channel TVP its spokesperson.

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