George Soros’ Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) and the German-Swiss media group Ringier Axel Springer have carved up Poland’s media market, according to a report by French portal Observatoire du journalisme.
The analysis by the French outlet reveals that since Nov. 8, a representative of the Soros-backed MDIF has been sitting on the supervisory board of the Wirtualna Polska Holding group, which owns entities with stakes in several Polish media outlets.
This follows acquisitions in other prominent Polish media such as Agora, the publisher of major daily Gazeta Wyborcza and Radio Zet, and Gremi Media, the publisher of influential daily Rzeczpospolita.
The investment in Wirtualna Polska (wp.pl) made by the Soros fund is a modest €1.5 million for just a 0.2 percent stake in the company, but it is viewed as an important statement of “commitment to media freedom,” according to the Polish owners of that portal. Wp.pl’s main rival on the market is Onet.pl, owned by Ringier Axel Springer, which also owns the tabloid Fakt, and the weekly magazine Newsweek Polska.
All the media outlets listed above are staunch supporters of the new parliamentary majority in Poland made up of liberals, centrists, and leftists led by the former prime minister and president of the European Council, Donald Tusk.
Observatoire du journalisme notes that once public television (TVP) and radio (Polskie Radio) are taken over by Donald Tusk’s allies, the Polish media market will become very lopsided in favor of the liberals and the left, as it was before 2015.
The outlet concluded that although French citizens will soon no longer hear in the country’s mainstream media about the threats to press freedom and media pluralism in Poland, they now have the most cause for concern, as the most powerful and best-funded media groups in Poland are already on the side of another government of Donald Tusk.