Polish media bill not linked to Recovery Plan evaluation, EC spokeswoman

A European Commission spokesperson for competition has stated that a new Polish media bill and the evaluation of Poland's National Recovery Plan are two separate issues.

"It’s a… separate matter, not connected with the evaluation of Poland’s National Recovery Plan," Arianna Podesta told reporters on Thursday.

EC spokesman Eric Mamer declined to make any further comment regarding the issue, saying that the EC do not make statements concerning draft laws. He added that the legislation process in Poland had several stages, and that the bill was still to be debated by the Senate (upper house).

However, he admitted that the EC had been following the situation and that it would analyse it after it had become law.

Earlier, EC Vice-President Vera Jourova wrote on Twitter that "media pluralism and diversity of opinions are what strong democracies welcome, not fight against."

"The draft Polish broadcasting law sends a negative signal," she added.

On Wednesday, the Sejm adopted a controversial amendment to Poland's Broadcasting Act tabled by MPs from ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), which 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.

If introduced, the new regulation would affect the US-seated Discovery Inc. company, owner of Poland’s largest independent television network, TVN, known for its government-critical stance. In effect, the broadcaster's news channel, TVN24, could be denied a licence extension after its current licence expires on September 26, and Discovery could be forced to sell the station.