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Polish senate rejects anti-Discovery law

The controversial Polish amendment that could see Discovery expelled from ownership of commercial broadcaster TVN has been rejected by the country’s Senate and will now return to the Sejm, the lower house of the bicameral parliament.

Ruling Law and Justice party senators were reportedly largely absent from a debate preceding a vote that saw 53 senators move to reject the bill, with 37 voting in favour and three abstentions.

The vote came after a joint meeting of relevant Senate committees on Monday that voted to reject an amendment to the country’s broadcasting law that would see non-European Economic Area companies banned from ownership of broadcast media in Poland.

The proposal has widely been seen as aimed specifically at Discovery and TVN, whose TVN24 news channel is seen as one of the few remaining independent outlets in a country where the ruling party has been attempting to tighten its control of media.

TVN24’s Polish licence is set to expire at the end of this month, and Discovery has been attempting without success to renew it. The broadcaster recently secured a licence for the channel in the Netherlands.

Critics of the amendment have pointed out that it violates provisions in the country’s constitution as well as a treat on trade and economic relations between Poland and US drawn up in 1990, as well as EU rules.

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