A law passed by the Polish parliament in mid-December, which aimed to block companies hailing from outside of the European Economic Area from owning controlling stakes in local media, has been vetoed by Polish president Andrzej Duda. The decision means Discovery Inc. will be able to retain its majority stake in TVN Group.
In August 2021, a vote was held in the lower house of the Polish parliament to pass legislation banning upstream foreign media ownership in the country. At that time, Discovery decried the situation as “the latest assault on independent media and freedom of the press.”
Discovery acquired TVN as part of its acquisition of Scripps Interactive Networks in 2018. Scripps had completed its acquisition of TVN in 2015.
Critics of the bill, dubbed the Lex-TVN Law, said it was targeting news channel TVN, which has provided critical coverage of the country’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. Polish citizens in the thousands protested outside the presidential palace shortly after the bill’s passage.
According to Reuters, when announcing the veto of the bill in a televised address, Duda said the bill as it stood could violate a treaty signed in 1990 regarding economic and trade relations.
A statement issued by Discovery regarding the veto read: “This is a victory for the Polish people. We commend the President for doing the right thing and standing up for core democratic values of a free press and the rule of law, and we want to thank all the viewers and everyone that has supported this important issue.”