Discovery to Take Legal Action in Polish Media Law Dispute


Discovery, Inc. says it is taking legal action against the government of Poland, following what it refers to as a “discriminatory campaign against TVN.”

Discovery has informed the Polish government that it will take legal action under the bilateral investment treaty between the U.S. and Poland. The treaty, signed between the two countries in 1990, requires fair and equitable treatment, non-impairment by arbitrary and discriminatory measures, non-discrimination in granting licenses and the prohibition on expropriation without compensation.

Discovery says the discriminatory campaign against TVN—which Discovery took control of following its acquisition of Scripps Networks—includes the refusal to renew TVN24’s broadcasting license. This week, the lower house of the Polish Parliament voted to pass legislation limiting foreign media ownership in the country.

“The legislation is the latest assault on independent media and freedom of the press and takes direct aim at Discovery’s TVN, the country’s leading independent broadcasting group and news provider, as well as one of the largest U.S. investments in Poland,” Discovery says. “Over a number of years, the current Polish government has targeted TVN in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner as part of a broader crackdown on independent media and in direct violation of legal protections around freedom of expression.”

JB Perrette, president and CEO of Discovery International, noted, “Discovery has successfully operated and invested in Poland for nearly 25 years, making us now one of the biggest international investors and employers in this incredible country. The current Polish government’s damaging and discriminatory actions, however, leave us no choice but to bring charges under the U.S.-Poland bilateral investment treaty. We are deeply committed to safeguarding our investment in Poland and its people, defending the public’s interest in independent media and the rights of freedom of expression. Discovery, as a protected investor in Poland, is afforded important rights and freedoms under the U.S.-Polish Treaty. We do believe this legislation will have a chilling effect on U.S. and European investment into the Polish economy, and we will aggressively defend our rights.”