“Forcing media companies to sell shares will force investors to look elsewhere. That’s not a good investment climate – it’s censorship. Attracting foreign investment and a strong economy requires predictability” – the ambassador tweeted. In a follow-up tweet, she wrote: „Long term licenses = long term investment, in any business, including the media business”.
Both tweets were posted on Friday afternoon. Earlier that day, in the morning, we published an article about the Trump administration pushing the Law and Justice government to abandon its plans to deconcentrate independent media, because such doings would harm American investors. Thus, ambassador Mosbacher only confirmed what we wrote about in the article.
Our sources tell us that the American embassy is carefully monitoring all publications concerning the media deconcentration draft bill announced by the Polish government. In another article, we wrote that during his last visit to Poland, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, made it clear that any actions of the Law and Justice politicians which might hurt American corporations will meet with a strong response of the United States.
Discovery, the owner of the Polish private television broadcaster TVN, is not the only stake in this game. There’s also the American investment company Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co. L.P. (KKR), which last year acquired a 43,5% stake in the German media group Axel Springer. Axel Springer, in turn, together with the Swiss media group Ringer AG, each has a 50% stake in the Ringer Axel Springer Media joint venture which owns the tabloid “Fakt”, the online news portal “Onet.pl”, and the Polish edition of the weekly “Newsweek”.
Because of its strong ties with the Republican party, the American investment company KKR plays a key role in defending the titles owned by Axel. One of the partners at KKR, and a chairman of the KKR Global Institute who analyzes the company’s investments in European markets, is the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) gen. David Petraeus, a Republican.
The US ambassador to Poland, Ms. Mosbacher, is another American official who repeatedly defended the business interests of Discovery and KKR. A visit to Warsaw by KKR representatives shortly after the company acquired shares in the German media group only proves the importance of the Polish market for its business. Although during their visit KKR representatives spoke with members of the ruling party, the details of their meetings remain shrouded in mystery. According to our sources, KKR’s investments in the Polish media market were among the topics of their talks.
Shortly after ambassador Mosbacher posted her tweets, one of the politicians from the United Poland party (Solidarna Polska) responded to her statements: “And here we are, Ms. Ambassador spoke up again. Deconcentration was an idea initiated by Law and Justice. It was a top priority on the list of legislative projects we were handed. We only wanted to remind everyone that we had our proposals for three years now. I wonder if Law and Justice has enough willpower to conclude this issue”. United Poland and most members of Law and Justice, with Joanna Lichocka at the helm, are supporting a radical version of the media deconcentration bill- one that would force Poland’s largest media companies to sell parts of their assets.
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