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Discovery: Polish legislation undermines democracy, freedom of the press

Controversial law could force Discovery to sell Poland's most-watched news network

Discovery has condemned the passage by Poland’s Parliament of the Lex-TVN legislation, which bans companies outside the European Economic Area from owning Polish media channels.

The law could force Discovery to sell its control of TVN Group, including TVN24, the country’s largest independent and most-watched news network.

TVN24 is known to be critical of Poland’s conservative ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, leading opponents of the legislation to view Lex-TVN as the first step toward a state takeover of the network.

On Sunday, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside Poland’s presidential palace to protest the law, which stands to be ratified by the president.

Discovery said in a statement: “The outcome of [the] surprise vote in the Polish Parliament should alarm any enterprise investing in Poland and anyone who cares about democracy and freedom of the press.

“Through this vote, Poland undermines the values that have connected Poland with Europe, and uproots the foundation of the Polish-American relationship. We now appeal to the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, to keep his word and veto this legislation.”