US concerned at fine for private broadcaster in Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
The United States has said it is concerned at Poland’s decision to fine private broadcaster TVN for alleged biased reporting of demonstrations outside parliament last December.
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“This decision appears to undermine media freedom in Poland, a close ally and fellow democracy,” the US State Department said in a statement on its website.
“Free and independent media are essential to a strong democracy (...) We remain confident in the strength and ability of Poland’s democracy to ensure Poland’s democratic institutions are fully functioning and respected,” the State Department added.
Poland’s National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) media regulator on Monday slapped a PLN 1.48 million (some EUR 350,000, USD 410,000) fine on TVN’s TVN24 around-the-clock news station.
According to the wpolityce.pl news website, the station was punished for its “biased coverage of political events” and for “siding with” the opposition.
In December 2016, Polish media extensively covered a sit-in protest by opposition lawmakers in the lower house of parliament, triggered by the exclusion of a deputy from the house’s proceedings and by planned changes to rules governing the work of journalists in the chamber.
The National Broadcasting Council said in a statement on Monday that “after conducting proceedings regarding the method of coverage of events in and outside parliament on Dec. 16-18, 2016,” it concluded that TVN had infringed the law.
The opposition's sit-in protest in the lower house lasted almost four weeks amid a political crisis that threatened to paralyse Poland's parliament.