Lichocka confirmed on Tuesday that the Law and Justice party is going to accelerate the work on the "Repolonization Law", which so far was only used by the government to scare off independent media in Poland. The excuse for the attack is the ownership structure prevailing in the sector - foreign publishers (Passauer Presse and Axel Springer) dominate the regional press market, and own the tabloid "Fakt", the weekly "Newsweek" and the Onet.pl online portal.
All of these outlets were mentioned by name by Lichocka during the interview, despite the fact that the MP was constantly stressing that "the issue at hand is not about specific titles". At the same time, she stigmatized "Fakt" and Onet, saying that they are lying, "using media violence" and "crossing the boundaries of decency in public debate". She spoke more softly about Passauer (Polska Press): - If one publisher has a 90 percent share of regional media, it's difficult to talk about pluralism.
Throughout the interview, Lichocka kept coming back to the narrative used repeatedly by the ruling camp during the last presidential election, according to which "Germany attempted to interfere with the election" through the publications of "Fakt". The tabloid was also attacked for defending LGBT protesters against police brutality after the recent squirmishes on the streets of Warsaw. This was described by Lichocka as an example of the media's "fight against the Polish state".
PiS has been conducting its campaign against the so-called "foreign" media for years. Still, the Law and Justice milieu was never capable of showing even a shred of evidence that any of the editorial offices published by the "Germans" pursued the interests of Berlin. The whole matter is really about the independence of the media from the authorities. The "German" media will be struck first.
Lichocka was denying that the government's plans are aimed at "repolonization" of the media sector. Instead, she claimed that the government's plan was focused on deconcentration: - The deconcentration bill amounts to a systemic solution, which we hope to present to the Sejm in the autumn. Through this bill, we would like to organize the media market in such a way that there are more entities that publish Polish media. They will spring up, they will be able to operate, other entities will have a chance to operate on the media market. Axel Springer will not be able to have such a dominant position on the Polish market as it currently has, as this will be limited by these antitrust provisions concerning the media sector," she explained.
Media deconcentration. Lichocka: "The readers should be the judges".
Joanna Lichocka said that PiS wants to rely on French solutions. The ruling party often uses this argument but omits the fact that France introduced its laws before the European Union was created, while the EU rules prohibit discrimination against entrepreneurs from the countries belonging to the internal market.
Repolonisation/deconcentration agenda is being advocated by the Law and Justice party since at least 2016. Work on the law is carried out by the Ministry of Culture, but the party management is not satisfied with the results. The project announced by Lichocka for autumn this year will most likely be coming as an initiative of MPs and not the ministry, and Lichocka (a former journalist sitting on the National Media Council) will be one of its main authors. Jarosław Kaczyński announced the acceleration of works on the bill last week.
In the quoted interview, Lichocka said: - The deconcentration act has no intention of dealing with any specific media outlet or to put it on trial. I recommend that such a "trial" be taken by the readers. Just don't buy rags, ladies and gentlemen. When their cover stories spit lies about the President, when they lie on their cover pages about the Polish police, when they lie on the covers about the Polish Prime Minister, then simply don't buy rags.
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