Polish President Andrzej Duda is seen in Vilnius, Lithuania, on October 19, 2021. CPJ recently joined a letter to Duda calling on him to veto a proposed media bill. (AP/Mindaugas Kulbis)

CPJ joins call urging Polish president to veto media bill

The Committee to Protect Journalists today joined 16 other media and press freedom organizations in a letter calling on Polish President Andrzej Duda to veto an amendment to the country’s broadcast media law.

The letter states that the amendment “poses a fundamental threat to media freedom and pluralism in Poland,” and calls it a “direct attack on the independence of the country’s biggest private broadcaster, U.S-owned TVN, and its news channel TVN24.”

The law would change Article 35 of the Broadcasting Act to restrict broadcast licenses solely to companies that are majority-owned by entities inside the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, thereby blocking the TVN’s license, which is up for renewal, as CPJ has documented.

Lawmakers in the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, approved the legislation on December 17; it will pass into law if enacted by the president, according to reports.

The letter can be read in full here.

Update: Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said in a televised statement on December 27 that he had vetoed the bill, in part because of concerns that it could violate an economic and trade treaty signed with the United States. “There is also the issue of media pluralism, of freedom of speech,” he said. “When taking my decision, I took this element into serious consideration.”