Polish news channel TVN24 has obtained a Dutch broadcasting licence which will allow it to remain on air in Poland under European Union rules if its local licence isn’t renewed, its parent company, U.S. media group Discovery, said on Monday.
Poland’s most popular news channel’s licence expires on Sept. 26 but it is not clear whether it will be granted an extension after the Polish lower house of parliament last week passed a bill that would strengthen a ban on firms from outside the European Economic Area controlling Polish broadcasters.
That bill will now go to the upper house, the Senate.
“We have… applied for, and been granted, a Dutch licence under EU regulation,” said Kasia Kieli, President for Discovery in EMEA, said in a statement.
“In the event the (Polish) National Broadcasting Council does not renew the TVN24 licence…the Dutch license will allow us, in accordance with Polish and EU law, to continue broadcasting TVN24.”Discovery said on Thursday it had notified the Polish government that it would take legal action under the bilateral investment treaty between the United States and Poland, branding Poland’s failure to renew TVN24’s licence and the vote in parliament as “discriminatory”.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said Washington is “deeply troubled” by passage of the bill, which aims to prevent companies from outside the European Economic Area contolling media companies in Poland through vehicles based inside the area.
Discovery owns 100% of TVN24 through Netherlands-based Polish Television Holding to get around a ban on non-European firms owning more than 49% of Polish media companies.
“This licence does not in any way solve the situation we have with the new law passed in the government. The future of TVN and freedom of press in Poland is still at risk,” Kieli said.
“The rule of law and free media underpin any democracy, and we will continue to strongly defend TVN’s role as the country’s leading independent news provider.”
A government spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters