Janusz Kawecki, a member of the National Broadcasting Council, “expects” a vote to extend the license for TVN24 at the Council’s meeting on Thursday, Presserwis reported. TVN24 submitted the relevant application 17 months ago. Legal expert opinions clearly indicate that the TVN24 license should be extended. Moreover, KRRiT has already issued licenses for three TVN channels in the current ownership conditions.
TVN24 is still waiting for the license extension, which will expire on September 26. The decision on this matter belongs to the National Broadcasting Council. An application for its extension was submitted in February last year. KRRiT claims that the problem lies in the “ownership situation” of the TVN group. The station’s management wrote in a statement that in 2015 the National Broadcasting Council accepted the entry of American capital into TVN.
According to lawyers’ opinions The ownership structure of TVN SA meets the requirements of the Broadcasting Act and should not be an obstacle to the granting of a new license. The authors of the expert opinions indicate that since 2016 – under the same ownership conditions – KRRiT has already issued licenses for TVN24 BiS, TTV and TVN International West. Professor Stanisław Sołtysiński from the Sołtysiński Kawecki & Szlęzak Law Firm proves that “there is no justifiable reason for issuing a resolution on the reconciliation of the TVN24 program other than a positive decision, in accordance with established practice”. Prof. In his expert opinion, Stanisław Piątek from the University of Warsaw also draws attention to “the established interpretative practice of the National Broadcasting Council in connection with granting concessions for the next period in a similar capital situation”.
KRRiT member: I expect a vote on the TVN24 license on Thursday
Presserwis wrote about the license for TVN24 on Thursday. Member of the National Broadcasting Council, Janusz Kawecki, in an interview with the website, informed that for the first time the KRRiT considered materials regarding the TVN24 license on October 8, 2020 and then on October 22, 2020. – In view of the comments submitted at that time, it turned out to be necessary to obtain additional information, also from the concession owner – he said.
Kawecki – as Presserwis writes – “wanted to introduce a vote on the TVN24 license to the agenda during Tuesday’s meeting” of the Council. However, this did not happen, and Kawecki “expects a vote at the Thursday meeting” – we read.
– The first poll votes at the National Broadcasting Council probably took place in early July – he added. According to Presserwis, the majority of the Council members are against the extension of the license.
Former head of the National Broadcasting Council: it’s a simple process, it should close within a few weeks
Jan Dworak, the former head of the National Broadcasting Council, said in an interview with Presserwis that “he does not remember such a long procedure to extend the license for a satellite channel during his term of office”. – It is a simple process, it should be closing – and in practice it was closing – within a few weeks – he emphasized.
On July 20, Dworak said in TVN24 that “the current composition of the National Council is operating in violation of the basic principles of an official’s operation, ie outside the limits of the law and not on its basis”. As he added, “it is still difficult to talk about breaking the law, because there is no decision.”
– There is an abuse of the law, although it probably means the same, for example by prolonging the concession procedure – said Dworak.
“There is no reason not to accept the application”
Another former head of the National Broadcasting Council, current member of the National Media Council Julius Braun he said in an interview with TVN24 on July 16 that “if the broadcaster does not grossly or explicitly infringe the law in its activities so far, there are no grounds to refuse it” the license.
Braun emphasized – referring to the anti-TVN law, which was prepared by a group of PiS MPs – that “the state body, and here the chairman of the National Council, is such a body, cannot operate on the basis of a law that someone has invented, but which does not exist yet”.
– It must act on the basis of the law that is in force today. Today there is such a law that there is no reason not to accept the application – he said.
He considered that the aforementioned project was “some kind of scandal from the legislative point of view”. – From the point of view of the activities of the National Council also – he added. – Decisions cannot be conditioned by what the Seym may decide – he emphasized. – Even if the Sejm dealt with it quickly, this law should not apply to those procedures that are already in progress. And this procedure has been underway for a year and a half, he pointed out.
On July 7, a group of Law and Justice deputies submitted to the Sejm a draft amendment to the Broadcasting Act. “The will of the legislator is that companies based in Poland cannot be controlled by entities from outside the European Economic Area” – it was written in the justification.
Commentators agree that the changes are aimed at TVN’s independence. As Ryszard Terlecki, deputy speaker of the Sejm from PiS, announced on Wednesday, the Sejm will deal with this law “rather at the session on August 11”.
They critically assessed the anti-TVN law social, human rights, journalistic and business organizations. They draw attention to the fact that independent media are one of the pillars of democracy, and moreover – from the economic point of view – the planned changes in the media law will have a negative impact on the prospect of foreign investors getting involved in Poland.
press.pl, tvn24.pl, TVN24
Main photo source: Leszek Szymański / PAP