An executive of Discovery Inc. said Friday the company will fight to stay in control of its television channel in Poland.
The network is worth $3 billion and is threatened by the recent media legislation the parliament passed this week.
If the Parliament enacts the new bill, the government will not permit the non-polish to own more than 49% of any media company.
The right-wing government said it’s for the protection of national security and sovereignty.
However, critics believe it’s a dictatorial attempt to stifle independent TV news in Poland.
Additionally, the bill would only affect TVN. The US company Scripps Networks Interactive bought TVN and later sold it to Discovery.
The $2 billion sale deal to Discovery is the largest American investment in Poland.
CEO and President of Discovery, Jean-Briac Perrette, said on Friday, the TVN has now a value of $3 billion.
Furthermore, Discovery has a financial responsibility to the investors to defend its interests in Poland.
“We have no intent to sell or leave,” Perrette said in an interview, urging the US, EU, and European countries to step in.
He said media independence and the continuation of democracy are at the climax, especially in strategic central Europe.
Perrette said he had seen great support from the EU and the US government.
Although, he said the problem is that the Polish government is so adamant in its ideology.
“So far, all the great support and the words have not been sufficient to fend this off,” he added.
Before passing the bill on Wednesday, broadcast regulators in Poland had refused to renew the license for the TVN24 news channel.
Discovery goes to Law
Therefore, Discovery announced it would take the matter to court over arbitrary and discriminatory acts.
Discovery accused Poland of violating a US-Poland investment agreement.
Moreover, Perrette believes Discovery will have the upper hand if the case ends in court.
He also said Discovery Inc has other options to save its investment in Poland, but could not publish the details at the moment.
Poland has not yet responded to Discovery’s lawsuit.
To become a law, the Senate examines the bill and then gives it to the President for signing.
The Opposition in Poland controls the Senate, but it’s too weak to block the bill.
“This is turning in a very bad direction,” Perrette said.
“Now in the next 30 to 45 days, they give their decision.” He added.