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Poland to Reform Public Media in Line with European Standards

MEDIAPoland to Reform Public Media in Line with European Standards

The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage has announced a detailed plan to reform public media in Poland, aiming to implement the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) into the Polish legal framework. The reform includes changes in the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT), regulations regarding the appointment of management in media companies and the financing of public media, as well as rules for market concentration. Comments on the proposed assumptions will be collected until the end of September 2024.

Hanna Wróblewska, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, emphasized that public media are crucial for shaping public opinion and democracy. “We aim to create clear rules of operation and ensure the independence of the media. Therefore, we decided on broad consultations so that everyone could express their opinions,” said Wróblewska. The consultations will last for three months, after which a report will be prepared as a basis for drafting the law.

European Media Freedom Act

The European Media Freedom Act, which came into effect on May 7, 2024, sets minimum standards for the operation of public media in the European Union. The goal of these regulations is to ensure access to reliable information and editorial independence of the media.

Key Areas of Reform

Financing Public Media

The current system of financing public media does not guarantee their stability. The Ministry proposes replacing the license fee with state budget financing, amounting to at least 0.09% of GDP annually. This will allow for a reduction in the number of advertisements on public television and focus on the public mission. The implementation of this mission will be socially assessed and monitored by the reformed KRRiT.

Reform of the National Broadcasting Council

The proposed changes include restoring the 9-member composition of KRRiT, with members appointed by the Sejm, Senate, and President. A rotation mechanism will be introduced, changing part of the members every two years. KRRiT’s competencies will be expanded to include developing a national database of media ownership and monitoring media pluralism in Poland.

Appointing Public Media Authorities

Supervisory Boards will be appointed by KRRiT and the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, with the selection of management board members conducted through two-stage competitions. Candidates will be publicly evaluated, and selections will be transparent and competence-based.

Media Pluralism

The reform proposes liberalizing the regulations for licensing satellite or cable program broadcasting and introducing restrictions on local government units conducting media activities. Regulations will also address the control of media market concentration and transparent public spending on advertisements.

Work Schedule

The social consultation process will last from June 24 to September 23, 2024. A report from the consultations will be published in October 2024. Based on this report, a draft law will be prepared by the end of 2024, which will then undergo public and interministerial consultations.

In this way, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage aims to create regulations that meet the needs of the media market and ensure the independence and reliability of public media in Poland.

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