Discovery Business in Poland Saved as President Vetoes Controversial Media Bill

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Discovery Inc will not have to sell its Polish business after all. On Monday, President Andrzej Duda vetoed a controversial media bill that was passed in the Polish parliament earlier this month that would have forced the U.S. giant to sell its business in the country.

Known as Lex TVN, the bill was designed to prevent non-European ownership of Polish media companies. It was first proposed in July by Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), which said that TV and radio license holders shouldn’t be directly or indirectly controlled by entities that aren’t in the European Economic Area. The bill, had it been approved by Duda, would have prevented any non-European company from owning more than a 49% stake in TV or radio companies in the country.

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Duda said that that the bill was unpopular in Poland and would adversely affect the country’s reputation as a place to do business. Duda agreed in principle that countries should limit foreign ownership in media companies, providing the examples of the U.S., France and Germany, which have legislation in place for this purpose. However, he said that passing such a bill would be harmful for a business currently operating legally in the country.

Duda also noted that passing the bill into law would have cost the country several billion dollars and that he agreed with many of his compatriots who have the view that such a bill is not necessary at this point in time.

Discovery are the U.S. owners of Poland’s TVN Group, which operates the country’s most prominent news channel, TVN24. Valued at around $2 billion, TVN represents America’s largest investment in Poland.

“This is a victory for the Polish people,” Discovery said in a statement. “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.”

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