Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Gregory W. Meeks and Michael McCaul, Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with Representatives Bill Keating and Brian Fitzpatrick, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment, and Cyber Subcommittee, as well as Representatives Gerry Connolly and Steve Chabot, released a statement ahead of the consideration by Poland’s parliament of a new media law that would prevent non-EU companies from taking control of Polish broadcasters. If passed, this law would in effect force the American media company Discovery, which owns TVN24, the country’s largest independent news channel, out of the Polish market. Sadly, this is part and parcel of a troubling trend regarding independent media in Poland, evidenced by the country’s drop in the latest World Press Freedom Index to its lowest ever position of 62nd, following five consecutive years of decline.
“Since the Solidarity movement precipitated Poland’s transition from a communist dictatorship to a liberal democracy, strong, steadfast, and bipartisan support for the U.S.-Poland relationship was founded on a shared commitment to democratic principles and the fundamental freedoms of all our citizens. We are therefore growing increasingly concerned about the ongoing attacks on the free press, independent judiciary and the rule of law in Poland.
“Congress will be watching closely as the fate of the new media law and the renewal of TVN’s license are decided and urges the Polish government to ensure a free, independent media as well as U.S. investments in Poland are safeguarded.”