Discovery exec says network will fight to keep control of Polish media company

Discovery exec says network will fight to keep control of Polish media company
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The CEO of Discovery International vowed Friday to keep ownership of a Polish network as lawmakers in Poland passed a bill in the lower house earlier this week that would reduce media ownership for non-European companies in the country.

The legislation targets Discovery-owned TVN. The bill, which still requires several other legislative steps before going to the president for signature, would mean that non-European companies in Poland could only retain up to 49 percent of their ownership of a media entity, The Associated Press reported.

In an interview with the wire service, CEO and President of Discovery International Jean-Briac Perrette said the network is worth about $3 billion. 

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“We have no intent to sell or leave,” Perrette told the news agency.

Poland’s government has said the legislation is necessary for sovereignty and security reasons, but opponents, including Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenUS rejoining UN Human Rights Council; what it should do first Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Biden administration breaks down climate finance roadmap Obama to attend Glasgow climate summit MORE, say it would hurt the “most watched independent news station” in the country.

Blinken said in a statement Wednesday that he was “deeply troubled by draft legislation passed today by the lower house of the Polish parliament that targets the most watched independent news station, which is also one of the largest U.S. investments in the country.”

“Poland has worked for decades to foster a vibrant and free media. This draft legislation would significantly weaken the media environment the Polish people have worked so long to build,” he continued.

Perrette said during his interview that he has called for intervention efforts from countries in Europe, the European Union and the U.S., but he worries it might not be enough to stop a possible passage of the bill in Poland.

“We’re seeing great support from the U.S. government and great support from the EU,” he told the AP. “The problem is, I fear, this (Polish) government is so ideologically dead set.” 

Discovery has already filed a lawsuit after the TV regulator in Poland signaled it would not be renewing the license for TVN24, which is the news channel owned by parent company TVN, according to Reuters