TVN24’s 1.5 million PLN fine scrapped by KRRiT
Poland’s media regulator KRRiT has annulled the 1.5 million PLN fine it imposed on leading news broadcaster TVN24 last month for its coverage of protests in parliament in 2016.
The fine, which immediately prompted accusations that it was aimed at silencing the media, put the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) in a difficult situation as it was imposed days after it replaced Prime Minister Beata Szydlo with a moderate former bank CEO in a bid to improve the cabinet’s tarnished image.
“After getting acquainted with the positions of the social side and additional analyses and arguments presented by the interested party (TVN24)... the President of the National Council of Radio Broadcasting and Television decided to repeal the decision,” the regulator said in a statement on Wednesday, quoted by Reuters.
Critics said the KRRiT media watchdog had punished the U.S.-owned broadcaster in an effort to mute its criticism of the ruling party amid speculation the Polish state may take over TVN24.
The U.S. State Department condemned the fine. TVN was bought for $2 billion by Scripps Networks Interactive, making it the largest U.S. investment ever in Poland.
Polish tax authorities last year demanded that TVN, TVN24’s parent company, pay 110 million zlotys in allegedly unpaid taxes. TVN is challenging the order.