Polish PM says US should analyse new media and property restitution bills

Radek Pietruszka/PAP

The Polish prime minister has invited US experts to analyse both a new media bill and the amended Administrative Procedure Code adopted by Poland's parliament in order to fully understand their aims.

"As far as these two (bills - PAP) are concerned, let me invite experts selected by our US partners to analyse what we are talking about," Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters on Thursday.

The prime minister said that these bills should not make Poland’s American friends concerned about them. He made the statement in connection with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's reaction following their passage by parliament. Blinken expressed deep concern and added that both these acts were incompatible with the principles and values which were the foundation of modern and democratic states.

The Polish Sejm (lower house) finally adopted on Wednesday an amendment to the Code of Administrative Procedure on the possibility of questioning the validity of administrative decisions concerning property restitution, among other things. In accordance with the new law, courts may consider appeals regarding administrative decisions on property only if they were made within the previous 30 years.

Referring to the property restitution bill, Morawiecki said that the point was to avoid pathological situations which had taken place in Warsaw as well as in other places in Poland and added that the amendment was necessary in order to implement a Constitutional Tribunal ruling in this regard.

Also 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.

Morawiecki said that it was not aimed at any TV station. "We do not have any intentions regarding a specific television channel, it is just about tightening the regulations so that there is no situation in which companies from outside the European Union would freely buy media in Poland," prime minister told a news conference.