BRUSSELS, July 9 (Reuters) – Polish news station TVN24 is in breach of foreign ownership rules for media firms, the head of the broadcasting regulator told Reuters, adding the watchdog was split over whether to renew the licence for the unit of U.S.-based Discovery Inc.
The remarks by Witold Kolodziejski raise the stakes in a case that has stoked concerns over media freedom in Poland under the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party and led to a standoff between Warsaw and Washington.
TVN24 is Poland’s most-watched news channel and its critical coverage has long been a thorn in PiS’s side. Its broadcasting licence expires on Sept. 26.
TVN, the parent company of TVN24, has been owned by U.S. entities since 2015 via a firm registered in the European Union to meet Polish legal requirements that ban non-European firms from owning more than 49% of Polish media.
This has so far been enough for the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT), which under Kolodziejski has extended licences for other TVN channels since 2016.
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