Polish private broadcasters say new TV standard is discriminatory

Polish private broadcasters say new TV standard is discriminatory
By Reuters
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WARSAW - Private broadcasters in Poland said on Friday a new digital terrestrial television standard that is being rolled out was discriminatory and they would demand state compensation.

The Polish Office of Electronic Communications decided in March that private broadcasters needed to switch to a different standard of digital terrestrial television while public Polish Television (TVP) channels were exempt from the regulation.

Private broadcasters argue this means up to 2.5 million viewers will soon lose access to some private TV channels.

"We protest against unfair actions that deprive a large proportion of terrestrial TV viewers of access to their favourite channels and discriminate against commercial broadcasters," they said in a statement.

"We will defend the rights of viewers and our rights, as the largest broadcasters in Poland ... and demand adequate compensation and the fastest possible switching of TVP channels to the broadcasting standard applicable to other broadcasters."

Poland's ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has long argued that foreign media groups have too much power in Poland, distorting public debate.

However, critics say that moves against private media aim to curbing their freedom and are part of an increasingly authoritarian agenda that has put Warsaw at loggerheads with the European Union.

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