Private medias are starting a strike following the government’s decision to tax further private medias. As a consequence, many private medias are protesting in a strike called ‘Media Bez Wybory’ (media without choice) and dozens of news websites (Onet.pl, WP, Wyborcza.pl, Rzeczpospolita or Interia…) , radios (RMF FM, Radio Zet…) and TV (TVN, Polsat…) will not broadcast or publish any news today.
On the main pages, you will only find and hear announcements about joining the media strike and read the Open Letter to the authorities and leaders of political groups.
“We are protesting because the authorities have declared war on free public opinion” – Gazeta Wyborcza 10.02.21
“Freedom of speech dies in silence. So today we very loudly appeal to politicians to abandon the idea of a new media tax.” – Onet.pl 10.02.21
“We call on the government to withdraw from its plans, because destroying the sphere of press freedom will be fatal for the Polish economy and democracy.” – Rzeczpospolita 10.02.21
Poland is ranked N°62/180 in terms of Press Freedom the lowest rank in European Union with Greece N°65 and Hungary N°89.
Dozens of private medias sent an open letter to the authorities and leaders of political parties:
“Open letter to the authorities of the Republic of Poland and leaders of political parties.
We are addressing the planned additional tax burden on media operating on the Polish market, misleadingly called the “contribution”, implemented under the pretext of Covid-19. It is simply a tax imposed against Polish viewers, listeners, readers and Internet users, and against Polish productions, culture, entertainment, sports and media.
The implementation will result in:
weakening or even liquidating a part of the media operating in Poland, which would significantly limit the public’s ability to choose content that interests them,
limiting opportunities to finance valuable and local content. Currently, the production of such content ensures an income for hundreds of thousands of employees and their families and provides access to information, entertainment and sports events to the majority of Poles mostly free of charge,
increasing the inequality of treatment between the entities operating on the Polish media market, in a situation where the state media receive PLN 2 billion a year from each Pole’s pocket, while private media are charged with an additional fee of PLN 1 billion,
De facto favouring companies not investing into the development of Polish, local content over entities investing the most in Poland. We estimate that the companies considered by the government to be “global digital giants” will pay only 50-100 million zlotys compared to the 800 million zlotys paid by other locally active media.
The asymmetrical and selective burdening of individual companies is also scandalous. Additionally, it is unacceptable in the state of law to attempt changes in licence conditions within the term of validity.
As media operating in Poland for many years we did not avoid obligations and social responsibility. Each year we pay an increasing number of taxes, tributes and fees to the state budget (CIT, VAT, emission fees, copyright organizations, concessions, frequencies, booking decisions, VOD fee etc.). We also support the most vulnerable groups in our society through our own charity work. We support Poles and the government in the fight against the epidemic, informing them and donating hundreds of millions of zlotys to this cause.
We therefore firmly reject any attempt to use the pandemic as a pretext to impose a new, extremely burdensome tax on media. A permanent burden that will remain after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Signatories of the letter:
Agencja Wydawnicza AGARD Ryszard Pajura
Burda Media Polska
Eleven Sports Network sp. Z oo
Green Content sp.
Z oo Gremi Media SA
Group Grupa Interia.pl sp. zoo
Grupa Radiowa Agory sp. z oo
Grupa Wirtualna Polska
Kino Polska TV SA
Lemon Records sp. z oo
Music TV sp. z oo
Muzo.fm sp. z oo
Polish Press Group
Ringier Axel Springer Poland
Superstacja sp. z oo
Telewizja Polsat Sp. z oo
Telewizja Puls sp.
TV spectrum sp.
Weekly Courier Wołowski District Municipalities
Publishing House Dominika Księskiego Wulkan
Publishing House Magraf Publishing
Zakopiańskie Towarzystwo Gospodarcze – Tygodnik Podhalański“