Poles rise up against media law described as ‘gagging democracy’

The law poses a particular threat to US-owned broadcaster TVN, in a move which will alienate a key ally, writes William Nattrass

Tuesday 10 August 2021 17:48
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<p>Protesters display posters in support of the independent broadcaster TVN during a demonstration in Warsaw</p>

Protesters display posters in support of the independent broadcaster TVN during a demonstration in Warsaw

Poles fear for the future of free debate in their country due to a new media law which opposition politicians have described as a “gagging of democracy”.

Protests against the law are being held today in nearly 80 Polish towns. The largest of the demonstrations will take place in front of the Sejm in Warsaw and will be attended by Donald Tusk, the leader of the Polish opposition.

The bill submitted to parliament by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party would prevent non-European owners from holding majority shares in Polish media companies. This is seen as a way of imposing greater controls on Polish media, drawing comparisons with the level of press control wielded by Viktor Orban’s government in Hungary.

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