In the capital, Warsaw, thousands of people demonstrated in front of the presidential palace, chanting “free media” and “we demand the veto.”
Many flags of the European Union waved.
Many of the protesters were senior Polish protesters who fought the communist regime decades ago, and who now fear that their freedom will be curtailed and that the country’s government is about to turn its back on the Western world.
– It is my duty to be here. . . As on every occasion when our freedom is threatened, 71-year-old Andrej Lech, who carried the European Union and Polish flags, said during the protest.
Conservative National Government Party Law and Justice claims that the bill would act as a safeguard against countries such as Russia and China that take over media companies in the country.
But critics say the bill is in fact designed to shut down independent – and US-owned – TVN24.
On Friday, the bill took – somewhat unexpectedly – a huge step closer to becoming a reality.
Until then, the situation was that a majority in the lower house of the Polish parliament voted in favor of the bill in August, but it was put on hold as early as September, as the Senate subsequently opposed it.
But on Friday, a majority in the House of Representatives voted to lift the Senate’s veto, so the media law only needs to get the approval of President Andrzej Duda to take effect.