Media expert: PKN Orlen’s ‘re-polonization’ could signal the rebirth of regional media in Poland

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Fuel and energy conglomerate PKN Orlen’s decision to purchase Polska Press, a group of regional papers and media outlets, could lead to increased competition on the market that drives better quality of coverage for consumers, said Dr. Piotr Łuczuk, a media expert of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, in an interview Polish news portal Dorzeczy .
Dr. Łuczuk said he believed that the decision by the state-owned PKN Orlen will have revolutionary implications for the whole of the media market in Poland.
Its purchase of Polska Press from its German owners Verlagsgruppe Passau is not its first foray into acquiring media outlets. Recently, the energy giant acquired Ruch, a distribution company with hundreds of vendors. Dr. Piotr Łuczuk Orlen’s purchase is definitely an opportunity and not a threat. The move from PKN Orlen means that a large part of the Polish media sector is returning to Polish ownership — a part of the sector that has for years been in decline. As a result, PKN Orlen is reaching a huge number of consumers and this media group is gaining an owner capable of investing in them. It is too early to say whether the venture will be successful, but it is a major development.
It is also highly significant that the move has been made by a state company.
This of course means that the opposition will accuse the government of attempting to make regional media dominated by the ruling party. But in fact the move ensures greater pluralism on the Polish market as it reduces the over-representation of liberal views which was often enforced by foreign owners.
According to the expert, it ensures that the regional media will have an owner willing and able to make the required investment to make it competitive and serve local people.
“Orlen’s purchase is definitely an opportunity and not a threat,” concluded Łuczuk, who feels that political opposition concerns are driven purely by their own interests rather the interest of the regional media and the citizens in each of those regions.

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