Critics force Poland to rewrite media tax

Critics force Poland to rewrite media tax
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The Polish government is rewriting a newly proposed tax in the wake of a 24-hour media blackout in the country, The Associated Press reports.

The measure, known as the “Solidarity tax” was unveiled earlier this month and was intended, a government spokesperson told the AP, to raise cash from “digital giants that often pay their tax dues in an unproportionate (low) way.”

In addition to raising revenue, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has described the tax as an attempt to reduce the power and influence of companies like Google, Facebook and other digital media giants, according to the AP.

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However, independent Polish media outlets claimed it would hurt smaller outlets that already pay taxes on advertising revenue and face competition from state-run media. In response, 45 media companies signed a letter last week protesting the tax, and many suspended news coverage and other programming last Wednesday.

Also last week, the Agreement Party, part of Poland’s coalition government, said the current version of the tax was not acceptable. Without its approval, the AP notes, Poland’s Parliament could not pass the measure.

In response, the government said it now plans to rewrite the media tax.

“We are reviewing all the suggestions made by various media groups and other interested parties,” spokesman Piotr Mueller said. “And based on that a draft will be submitted that includes some of these remarks.”

The Polish government hopes to enact the tax by July 1, according to the AP.