Poland to propose limits on foreign media soon, Kaczynski says

Leader of the Polish Law and Justice (PiS) ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczynski during a sitting of the Sejm in the building of the Polish Parliament in Warsaw, Poland, 12 May 2020. [EPA-EFE/RADEK PIETRUSZKA]

Poland will seek to craft rules limiting the concentration of foreign-owned media outlets well before the ruling nationalists finish their term in power, Poland’s de facto leader said on Sunday (19 July), with parliamentary elections expected in 2023.

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has long said foreign-owned media outlets have meddled in Poland’s affairs and that Polish-owned media should have a stronger place.

The accusation was leveled again in the recent presidential campaign, during which incumbent and PiS ally Andrzej Duda repeatedly accused foreign media or foreign-owned media of misinforming the public.

When asked if PiS would introduce reforms before the end of their term, party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski told Polish public radio on Sunday that he hopes the reforms will be carried out soon.

“We will manage to do this much faster (than before the end of our term), at least on the legislative level, but this process’ success is tied to many changes that we have to bring about in our country as well as international relationships,” Kaczynski said.

PiS has maintained that any new law would have to adhere to EU rules, which could hamper the party’s political aim to substantially reduce the influence of foreign-owned outlets, such as Discovery-owned broadcaster TVN.

But, in the wake of last week’s presidential vote, where Duda won a second term in office, PiS has been emboldened in its criticism of the influence of foreign-owned media outlets in Poland.

Kaczynski said any potential rules are still “being analyzed and there are discussions on the matter.”

Many options were being considered, a PiS official told Reuters earlier this week, adding that the purchase of regional newspapers, many of which are German-owned, was among the ideas that had come up, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported last week.

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