Polish minister wants state-run firms to buy media outlets from foreign owners

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Polish state-run companies should take over media outlets from their foreign owners as part of the government’s planned changes to the industry, Culture Minister Piotr Glinski said on Tuesday.

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has long insisted that foreign-owned outlets distort the public debate and are unfairly critical of its government.

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PiS leader Jaoroslaw Kaczynski said in August that Poland was ready to craft rules to reduce foreign ownership of media outlets such as newspapers and TV channels, but no draft legislation or proposals have since been made.

Earlier this week The Economist reported, without providing sources, that German publishing group Verlagsgruppe Passau was said to be in talks with Poland’s state-run oil refiner PKN Orlen about the sale of its Polish arm, Polska Press.

PKN Orlen has not been available to comment, while VGP declined to comment.

Asked whether PKN will be taking over Polska Press, Glinski told private radio RMF on Tuesday: “You have to admit that this is not a normal situation, that almost all regional press is firstly in hands of one corporation, and secondly in a German corporation.”

“Most likely Polish state companies should be buying media where this is possible,” he added, saying he had no knowledge of whether such talks were taking place.

PiS officials said earlier that the reforms would focus on reducing the proportion of foreign ownership allowed in media companies and would be modeled on existing legislation in France and Germany.

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