Law and Justice (PiS) leader Jarosław Kaczyński spoke of the need for re-Polonizing media at the recent party convention in August. According to portal Onet.pl, the topic of introducing legal regulations on the media market has appeared at almost every PiS leadership meeting.
Kaczyński often explains that there is too much foreign capital in Polish media, which is why preventive measures should be taken.
But will the often postponed re-Polonization of the media ever take place?
According to interlocutors from PiS and its coalition members, the government has received unofficial warnings that any interference with the media market will be met with opposition from the American government.
This warning does not only concern the recent tweets made by US ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher, who recently wrote that “forcing media companies to sell their shares will force investors to seek other markets. That is not a good climate for investments – it is censorship.”
One of the leaders of the United Right government coalition told Onet.pl that the party had received a clear warning from the American side. If the government carries out the re-Polonization of media, it will not only be met with disapproval from the American government but may also limit American investments.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had supposedly formulated one such warning during his recent visit to Poland.
American motives in this issue are clear. Many Polish media companies have received capital from American investors. This concerns Discovery, in particular, who is the owner of the main liberal TV station in Poland, TVN; it also concerns KKR, the American private equity fund that became a shareholder of Axel Springer, the co-owner of Ringier Axel Springer Polska [the owner of Onet.pl as well].
These warnings have been treated very seriously by the United Right. Many within the coalition are beginning to push for the re-Polonization to be postponed or to find a solution that will not anger the Americans. PM Mateusz Morawiecki is one of these voices, as is part of the Agreement party.
PiS’s other coalition member, United Poland, believes that using “blackmail” against the Polish government is unacceptable. The party noted that the US had used similar methods to change Polish legislation concerning the so-called Holocaust Law.
It is difficult to foresee, however, what decision Jarosław Kaczyński will make in the end.