New Polish media law enacted

By Katarzyna Grynienko
The Polish parliament passed a media law on financing public media in Poland on May 22.
The new law transforms the source of financing for Polish Public Television (www.tvp.pl) and Polish Radio (www.polskieradio.pl) from the income from license feea to a special public media fund. The government will also finance media projects, not institutions, in order to have a greater control over the distribution of funds.

According to the new bill, the amount of funding for the public media each year should be no less that the income from license fee in 2007, around 900 million PLN (€205 million). The new law also introduces a system of program licenses which will enable both public and private producers to create projects for state funded media.

The structure of the public media itself will also change. The current local TVP departments will be transformed into 16 regional television companies in 2011, which is supposed to make them more connected to the region and less to politics. The National Broadcasting Council will have a increased number of members (from 5 to 7) and they will be chosen from professionals recommended by scholars and arts representatives.

The parties opposing the new media bill point out that it may have been enacted too soon, as the European Commission has not yet notified the new media financing system in Poland. If the EC's approval will fail to come before the President Lech Kaczyński signs the bill, the new bill will be illegal according to the EU law. EC has two months to analyze the new bill and ask the government questions, but once is receives the needed information the two month period starts all over again,which means that it may take a long time for the new law to transform the Polish media market.