Departmental Press Point – December 20, 2021 (extract)
NED PRICE, DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN
DECEMBER 20, 2021
QUESTION: Marcin Wrona, TVN Discovery from Poland. Ned, Poland’s parliament passed a law on Friday that will force Discovery, which is one of the biggest U.S. investments in the country, out of Poland. But on the other hand, if I understand correctly, President Duda has made a commitment to a group of American investors to veto the law. So what is your understanding of this situation? What are your projects, your next steps?
Mr. PRICE: Well, we had a chance to talk about it on Friday. But what we said then and where we are now is this: We are deeply disturbed by the adoption in Poland of the law you mentioned, a law which would seriously weaken media freedom there. We encourage President Duda to reaffirm his past statements in favor of free speech, the sanctity of contracts and the shared values that underpin our relationship. And we strongly encourage it, we strongly encourage President Duda to act on these values with regard to this legislation, because if it becomes law in its present form, it could seriously affect the freedom of the media and the climate for foreign investment in Poland.
You noted that TVN is owned by a parent company, an American parent company, Discovery, and of course we like to see our companies treated fairly around the world, but this is more important than any company. It is also about the freedom of the media; it is about the media space in Poland. And if it were to enter into force in its current form, we fear that this legislation will seriously infringe on that. This is something we would not want to see happen. There are a lot of things that cement our bilateral relationship with Poland – shared values are part of it, and certainly we don’t want to see any of those shared values undermined or diluted in any way.
QUESTION: What impact would this have on Polish-American relations, if implemented?
MR. PRICE: Well, again, I don’t think it’s useful for us to entertain a hypothesis, and because we – precisely because we hope it remains a hypothesis. We hope President Duda actually acts on his past statements – his past statements about media freedom, the sanctity of contracts and, of course, his belief in the shared values that really underpin our relationship.
So, again, we would like this to be a guess. We would like this law not to come into force.