Polish media protest against government plans to introduce a tax

“It simply came to our notice then. If the government’s plans succeed, you may not see him one day. You can also lose the opportunity to use other media and information sources, “wrote the opposition daily Gazeta Wyborcza on its home page. The same text was also published on the front page of the paper version of the newspaper.

Fifty private Polish media or media groups, both national and regional, took part in the protest, with the exception of the public television station TVP. In recent years, it has become a real propaganda tool for nationalist conservatives ruling the country, the AFP wrote.

In fact, it is “burning”, introduced under the pretext of a pandemic, which will affect Polish viewers, listeners, readers and Internet users, as well as Polish production, culture, entertainment, sports and the media, reported TVN 24. It belongs to the American group Discovery. Instead of reporting, the station only showed a black page on its website. She warned that the introduction of the tax will “weaken or even liquidate part of the media operating in Poland, which will significantly limit the company’s choice”.

The United States has supported media reservations. The embassy’s Chargé d’affaires, Bix Aliu, described the free media as a “cornerstone of democracy” on Twitter and assured that “the United States will always defend the independence of the media.”

According to the protesters, the tax would also benefit the public media. However, the government claims that it is planning a new advertising tax in order to raise money, given that state revenues were negatively affected by the pandemic. A government spokesman told TVP on Tuesday that a similar tax existed in many European countries, the AP agency added.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki sees the planned tax as part of an effort to level the playing field between large and small companies and get giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon to gain a fair share of the market. “It is the right step to level the playing field for domestic players in various sectors compared to large foreign players,” the head of the Polish government said according to the AP. The proposal is now in parliament, where the governing party has the majority needed to adopt it.

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The Polish media have been under great financial pressure in recent years due to the digital revolution and the effects of the pandemic. The AP agency pointed to the opinion of the renowned newspaper Rzeczpospolita that the new tax is a “systemic revenge” for the media for acting as a watchdog. She added that Poland is following in the footsteps of Hungary, where the broadcasting of one of the last independent radio stations, Klubrádió, is just ending.

The AP also reminded that in December, the petrochemical company PKN Orlen, controlled by the Polish state, controlled a group of regional dailies and weeklies. In the meantime, the government is generously financing “its” media, which increased its budget by more than 10.5 billion crowns before last year’s presidential election. The election ended with the victory of the candidate of the governing party.

Source: E15.cz by www.e15.cz.

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