“Here, your favorite program was broadcast,” reads a message that has replaced the regular broadcast on TVN24.
On the front pages of the major newspapers Fakt, Gazeta, and Yeporksa, on Wednesday there was something like “Media without elections”.
“You should be able to see our content on this page. If the government’s plans work, you may someday not be able to do it for real,” states the Gazeta Wyborcza homepage.
On the contrary, in the controlled media
The protest is taking place 24 hours a day and is aimed at a new tax that the government wants to impose, which media companies believe can lower completely.
The government, led by the right-wing Nationalist Party Law and Justice, previously implemented a series of critical media reforms and took control of the Polish government-funded media under the slogan “They must become” more Polish. “
TVP, which is today considered politically dominant, did not participate in the protest. Instead, she stated in the headline, “The media companies do not want to share their million income with the Poles.”
The government has described the new tax as a “solidarity compensation”, in line with an EU initiative targeting internet giants such as Facebook and Google, but in Poland it is also expected to affect advertising revenue for other independent media companies that are already struggling. According to a government spokesperson, up to 15 percent of that revenue could be subject to tax.
Growing fears of the European Union
Press freedom in Poland became a brighter topic in December, when a state-owned oil company bought media group Polska Press, thus taking control of a large portion of the country’s newspapers.
The European Commission, which has been looking into Poland and Hungary for several years in such cases, is concerned about the situation. In Hungary, an opposition radio station was closed on Tuesday.
“We expect member states to ensure that their tax or other policies do not override their duty to ensure a free, independent and diversified media system,” said Commission spokesperson Christian Wiegand.