PMA welcomes Polish President’s veto of the “Lex-TVN” bill which threatened media pluralism and freedom. But concerns about the broader state of media freedom in Poland remain.  

Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda, vetoed the “Lex-TVN” bill just before the New Year. The potential legislation had been put on his desk after it passed through the Sejm (Poland’s lower house) earlier on in December.  

Last month, PMA joined sixteen media organisations in writing to President Duda, urging him to veto the bill. The legislation presented a serious threat to media freedom and plurality, as it would have placed strict limits on foreign ownership of media. This would have particularly impacted the broadcaster TVN, which is owned by US-firm Discovery. If it was passed, Discovery would be forced to sell its majority stake, which could have the added consequence of being bought by government allies, thereby compromising TVN’s independence and integrity.  

Read more: Media independence and pluralism under threat from state-backed companies

The news that President Duda vetoed the bill is welcome, but the fact that there was such international pressure urging him to do so – particularly from the US – should not be ignored.  

Meanwhile, the media landscape in Poland is still of concern. TVN is the last remaining bastion of critical broadcast journalism. Public media has declined, media ownership is in the hands of increasingly few people (many of whom have links to the state), and the ruling Law and Justice party continue to look for ways to silence critical, independent media outlets 

Such efforts to exert greater control over independent media have been seen across parts of central and eastern Europe. Authorities must be called out and held to account for every action they take to undermine and influence independent and public media. Concerns are also growing in Western Europe, where some governments are also attempting to exert their own influence. PMA will continue to monitor the situation across Poland, and the continent.

Header image: Portrait of the Polish President Andrzej Duda on the background of Polish white and red flags, at the meeting with voters. Credit: Grabowski Foto /