Members of Poland’s lower house of parliament have voted in favour of an amendment to the country’s Broadcasting Act to tighten rules on foreign ownership of media, drawing concerns about press freedom.
The media law would prevent companies from outside the European Economic Area from holding a controlling stake in Polish media companies.
Thousands of people took to the streets in rallies across Poland on Tuesday over the draft law.
The United States is “deeply troubled” by the draft legislation, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, warning that it “threatens media freedom and could undermine Poland’s strong investment climate”.
The law will force US group Discovery to sell its majority stake in TVN, one of Poland’s biggest private TV networks whose news channel TVN24 is often highly critical of the government.
The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party says the law is needed to stop hostile foreign powers from taking control of powerful broadcasters and is in line with rules in other European countries.
But critics say it opens a path for a state-controlled company to take control of TVN, following a takeover of the regional newspaper group Polska Press by state energy giant PKN Orlen.