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Polish govt on brink over media clampdown

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(es) Warsaw/ Vienna. August 12, 2021

The Polish governing alliance was today on the brink of collapse over its thinly-disguised attempt to close down the last remaining independent – and hugely popular – TV broadcaster, the American-owned TVN4.

The change in the media law, nominally to stop non-European investment in media, has outraged Washington, which threatened a collapse in US investment, and EU Vice-President Vera Jourova for Values. “Media pluralism and diversity of opinions are what strong democracies welcome,” she said, “not fight against.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki

“The parliamentary majority, glued together with the mud of corruption and blackmail, is crumbling before our eyes,” said former EU Council President Donald Tusk, leader of the EPP in Brussels and also head of the opposition Civic Platform party after chaotic scenes in the Polish Sejm (parliament).

And former foreign minister, now an MEP, Radek Sikorski, tweeTed sarcastically: “Our parliament will today (August 11) be voting to disenfranchise TVN… If the bill passes, we will likely cross the point of no return toward a kleptocratic autocracy. The ruling party promised us Budapest, and it is delivering.”

The change in the broadcasting law – voted through by 228 votes to 216, provoked the resignation from the Polish governing alliance of the leader of a small, liberal party. The Agreement party leader Jaroslaw Gowin called the legislation was an attack on media diversity, and was then kicked out as deputy prime minister.

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