Tusk calls on people “to sweep away” government because of media law

Addressing the crowd, Tusk said they “were here in defence of a free media and free speech”. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Donald Tusk, the leader of Poland’s main opposition party, has told thousands of people in central Warsaw rallying against a new media law that they can “sweep away” the current “power”, if they work in solidarity.

The demonstration in Warsaw was just one of a number across Poland against the new law, dubbed ‘lex TVN’ by its critics because of fears it targets the American-owned television station TVN.

Under the law, which now just requires the signature of Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, to go on the statute books, ownership of media companies in Poland would be limited to entities based in the European Economic Area.

Critics have suggested the bill is an attempt to silence TVN, which has been critical of the government, and undermine independent media in Poland.

Addressing the crowd, Tusk, the leader of Civic Platform and a former prime minister, said they “were here in defence of a free media and free speech”.

He added that they can remove from office the “power”, a probable reference to Poland’s Law and Justice government.

“If we come together in solidarity, we will sweep away this power so there will be no trace of it left,” he said.

Many of the demonstrators called for Duda to veto the law. In the past the president has said the “right decision will be made” if the law threatens the constitutional order and the business and investment environment.