Junior coalition leader says media law amendment threatens investment

Agreement leader Jarosław Gowin told a Wednesday press conference: “I am convinced that the coming into force of the law in the form currently proposed, will negatively affect the investment climate around Poland.” Aleksander Koźmiński/PAP

The leader of Agreement, a junior member of Poland’s governing coalition, has warned that a controversial proposal to change the country’s media law threatens foreign investment.

The draft amendment, tabled by MPs from Law and Justice (PiS), the dominant party in Poland’s United Right coalition party, specifies that only entities headquartered in European Economic Area (EEA) countries can be granted a broadcasting licence, provided they are not dependent on entities from outside the EEA.

The bill's critics believe it is an attack on US-owned TV station TVN, which has been critical of the government and is currently striving to renew its licence.

Joe Biden, the US president, is apparently following the TVN situation, and there have been warnings that, if passed, the amendment could sour US-Polish relations.

Agreement leader Jarosław Gowin told a Wednesday press conference: "I am convinced that the coming into force of the law in the form currently proposed, will negatively affect the investment climate around Poland. This is not just about American investment, because here we have clear announcements from the Washington administration that such measures would chill our economic relations, but I think the negative influence would be much broader."

On Tuesday, the Sejm (lower house) Culture and Media Committee rejected a proposal tabled by an Agreement MP to include OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries in the list of those entitled to receive a radio or TV broadcasting licence.