Poland faces harmed ties with US, Israel over disputed bills

2 months ago 14
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WARSAW – Poland is looking astatine a much hard narration with 2 allies, the United States and Israel, aft lawmakers passed abstracted bills — 1 dealing with overseas ownership of media and the different affecting the spot rights of the families of Holocaust survivors — which the Polish authorities had been warned to drop.

The European Union besides slammed the media measure connected Thursday arsenic undermining media freedom, adding to pre-existing strains betwixt Warsaw and Brussels from the EU's cognition of antiauthoritarian backsliding successful subordinate federation Poland.

The bills passed the little location of the Polish parliament connected Wednesday, and inactive necessitate Senate support and the signature of the president, who supports the right-wing enactment that has governed the state since 2015.

The 2 proposals endanger to further isolate Poland, whose geographic presumption successful Central Europe has often near it astatine the mercy of stronger neighbors, and whose rank successful EU and NATO and narration with the U.S. are considered cardinal guarantees of the country's aboriginal security.


One of the bills that passed is aimed astatine forcing Discovery Inc., the U.S. proprietor of Poland’s largest backstage tv network, to merchantability its ample and fashionable Polish network, TVN. The other would forestall erstwhile spot owners, including Holocaust survivors and their descendants, from regaining spot expropriated by the country’s communist regime.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a connection precocious Wednesday astir what helium called the “troubling legislation,” saying that the NATO confederation to which Poland belongs “is based connected communal commitments to shared antiauthoritarian values and prosperity.”

“These pieces of authorities tally antagonistic to the principles and values for which modern, antiauthoritarian nations stand,” Blinken said.


Plans for the media measure successful Poland triggered nationwide protests by radical who fearfulness that their close to autarkic accusation is nether attack. Among the crowds were older Poles who retrieve the censorship of the communist era.

The bill's transition drew immoderate aggravated protesters to the parliament gathering precocious Wednesday, including immoderate who verbally assaulted and shoved an absorption lawmaker, Dobromir Sosnierz, portion seemingly mistaking him for a subordinate of the ruling Law and Justice party.

By contrast, the instrumentality which would impact the erstwhile spot owners — some Jewish and non-Jewish — got astir nary media sum successful Poland. But it sparked a accelerated and aggravated effect from Israel. with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid saying it “damages some the representation of the Holocaust and the rights of its victims.”

The EU Commission, which polices EU law, said it volition travel the media contented precise intimately portion the EU's apical watchdog for antiauthoritarian values, Vera Jourova, tweeted that the overseas ownership measure sends a antagonistic signal.


“Media pluralism and diverseness of opinions are what beardown democracies welcome, not combat against," Jourova wrote. “We request a #MediaFreedomAct successful the full EU to uphold media state and enactment the regularisation of law,”

European Parliament President David Sassoli besides weighed successful connected the media vote, calling it “very worrying.”

“If the instrumentality comes into force, it volition earnestly endanger autarkic tv successful the country. There tin beryllium nary state without a escaped media," helium said.

But his was 1 of the fewer comments from European leaders astir a improvement that to galore looked similar a important determination successful a step-by-step dismantling of the antiauthoritarian standards that Poland embraced erstwhile it threw disconnected communism successful 1989.

Hungary had already acceptable the way for specified an illiberal governmental direction, and the EU has shown small quality truthful acold to bash overmuch to guarantee adherence to its values either determination oregon successful Poland, some antecedently models of antiauthoritarian transformation.


After communism ended much than 3 decades ago, galore overseas investors entered Poland's media market. Poland's ruling party, led by the country's de facto leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has agelong seen this arsenic a occupation and sought to “re-Polonize” the media. The enactment argues that keeping Polish entities successful power of the media is simply a substance of nationalist information and that its regulations are successful enactment with Western European standards.

However, the party's critics spot the efforts to nationalize media arsenic a pretext for silencing autarkic voices. The effort is good connected its way. Soon aft winning powerfulness successful 2015, Law and Justice transformed tax-funded nationalist media into a enactment mouthpiece. Last twelvemonth the authorities lipid institution bought a ample backstage media radical that owned newspapers, magazines and net portals, and has since moved to changing the editors.

On Thursday, TVP Info, the nationalist broadcaster's all-news station, declared that the parliament had defended “Polish sovereignty” with its media bill.


Independent journalists person a antithetic view. A missive successful defence of TVN had gathered the signatures of implicit 1,000 Polish journalists connected Thursday.


Raf Casert successful Brussels contributed.

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