Department Press Briefing – December 20, 2021 (excerpt)



DECEMBER 20, 2021


QUESTION: Marcin Wrona, TVN Discovery from Poland. Ned, on Friday, the parliament in Poland passed a law which will force Discovery, which is one of the biggest American investments in the country, out of Poland. But on the other hand, as I understand, President Duda made a commitment to a group of U.S. investors that he would veto the law. So, what is your understanding of this situation? What are your plans, your next steps?

MR. PRICE: Well, we had an opportunity to address this on Friday. But what we said then and where we are now is this: We are deeply troubled by the passage in Poland of the law you referenced, a law that would gravely weaken media freedom there. We encourage President Duda to reaffirm his past statements in support of freedom of expression, the sanctity of contracts, and the shared values that underpin our relationship. And we strongly encourage him, we strongly encourage President Duda to act on these values in regard to this legislation, because if it becomes law in its current form, it could severely affect media freedom and the foreign investment climate in Poland.

You noted that TVN is owned by a parent company, an American parent company, Discovery, and of course we like to see our companies treated fairly around the world, but this is bigger than any one company. This is also about media freedom; it is about the media space in Poland. And if allowed to go into force in its current form, our concern is that this legislation would severely impinge on that. That’s something we would not like to see happen. There are many things that cement our bilateral relationship with Poland – shared values, is one of them, and certainly, we don’t want to see one of those shared values undermined or diluted in any way.

QUESTION: How would this impact the Polish-American relations, if it’s implemented?

MR. PRICE: Well, again, I don’t think it’s helpful for us to entertain a hypothetical, and because we – precisely because we hope it remains a hypothetical. We hope that President Duda will, in fact, act on his prior statements – his prior statements on media freedom, the sanctity of contracts, and of course, his belief in the shared values that really underpin our relationship.

So again, we would like for this to be a hypothetical. We would like to see this legislation not enter into force.