Poland’s tax on media and Big Tech sparks 24-hour strike from private news outlets

By admin
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Instead of their regular broadcasts and shows, some of Poland’s biggest private television stations, TVN and Polsat, have been displaying a special statement concerning their protest. On the web portals of TVN24, Onet and Interia, readers will not have access to any articles.

Radio stations RMF FM, Radio ZET, TOK FM, and Rock Radio have also joined the protest, and instead of their regular auditions, they are conveying a special broadcast.

“Here should be your favorite web portal. Today, however, you will not read any content here. See what the world will look like without independent media. The ‘Media without choice’ campaign has started. Read our open letter to Poland’s authorities. For us, it is most important for YOU to have a choice. We thank our users and our trade partners for their understanding and support,” one can read on many Polish language news websites.

The campaign was not supported by conservative media and public television and radio.

The protest campaign has been widely commented on throughout social media. Conservative and right-wing commentators are generally in favor of the solidarity tax and against the strike.

“So, there will finally be room to breathe away from hate, witch-hunts, mean misrepresentation of facts, ill will and ignorance? Maybe you should permanently ‘suspend activity’?” posted the head of Polish League Against Defamation, Maciej Świrski.

“Modern liberal media: every sanctity can be tarnished, everything can be mocked, nothing should be exempt from mockery. Also, same media outlets: someone is making fun of our protest. How scandalous! Disgraceful!” PiS MP Marcin Horała noted.

The new tax involves calculating a tax from advertisement income which will concern all broadcasters and publishers, including Big Tech companies. It will also concern online advertisements, and it will be paid by giants such as Google and Facebook.

Tech giants and other corporations will have to pay a 5 percent tax rate if “their global income reached €750 million and their income from online advertisements in Poland exceeds €5 million.”

The Ministry of Finance plans to impose the largest taxes on income from advertisements of goods detrimental to health, including sweetened drinks.

“In the European Union, this is called the digital tax for part of the internet. We are dealing with massive imbalance. Global media corporations are dominating and may dominate even more through the strength of their capital,” PM Mateusz Morawiecki warned.

Smaller traditional media will be exempt from paying the tax. Press publishers will be subject to a low tax rate up to a certain level of income.

Half of the approximately €178 million which the government plans to obtain in 2022 will be given to the National Health Fund (NFZ). 35 percent of the income will be given to the fund for support of culture and creativity in media, and 15 percent will be given to the National Recovery Fund.

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