EC concerned over Polish ad tax

EC spokesperson Christian Wigand on Wednesday expressed the Commission's fears over media pluralism in Poland in connection with the government's plans to tax advertising revenue.

Wigand said in Brussels that the EC was aware of the protests against the tax mounted by Poland's private media operators, and noted the Commission's earlier concerns about media pluralism in Poland.

He added that the EC's fears regarding Polish media were included in an earlier rule of law report on Poland.

Wigand stressed that the Commission expected all member states to ensure media freedom and pluralism. He said that free and independent media lay at the heart of every democratic system, and informed that the Commission will continue monitoring the situation in Poland.

Independent media companies in Poland have protested the ad tax, arguing it could stifle media pluralism and free speech in the country, and even ruin some media operators.

On Wednesday TV news channels TVN24 and Polsat News broadcast a special message in place of their regular programme, while the TVN24, Onet and Interia web portals blocked access to online articles.

Radio broadcasters RMF FM, ZET, TOK FM and Rock Radio also joined the protest and broadcast special announcements in place of their regular programmes.

The Polish finance ministry said on Wednesday that it was ready for talks in the matter with media representatives.