EU to Continue Monitoring Media Freedom in Poland After TVN24 License Extended

The European Union said that it will be “closely” monitoring the state of press freedom in Poland despite the latter’s decision to extend the broadcasting license of a news channel, TVN24, critical of Warsaw.

Polish authorities extended on Sep. 22 the operating license for the popular U.S. Discovery-owned TVN24, which has been targeted by the state for being critical of Poland’s government.

“We expect (EU) member states to ensure that their policies and legislation do not have any negative impact on their commitment to ensure a free, independent and diverse media ecosystem,” the European Commission said after the extension was finalized.

The European Union has been criticizing Poland for reshaping the news channel into a pro-government outlet with its “Lex TVN” bill, calling it an “attempt to silence critical content” and a “direct attack on media pluralism.”

The controversial media bill was rejected by the Polish Senate in early September.

However, some provisions from the bill were adopted where non-European entities cannot own more than 49 percent of a news outlet, which means that Discovery may have to sell its majority stake on TVN24.

“This resolution, like Lex TVN, forces Discovery to limit its activities in Poland and poses a direct threat to the rule of law and media freedom,” Discovery said in a statement in Polish.

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