Controversial sale of Polish media

The German media group Verlagsgruppe Passau has sold Polska Press Group, which owns 20 Polish regional newspapers and several weeklies, to the Polish state-owned company PKN Orlen, which has close ties to the ruling PiS government. Critics fear further restrictions on press freedom in Poland and call on Germany to stake a stand. Others, however, don't see the deal as a major threat.

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Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Merkel remains silent

Journalist and political scientist Bartosz Wieliński would have liked to see Germany take a stronger stance, as he writes in Gazeta Wyborcza:

“The German publishing group Passau sells off 20 of the 24 regional daily newspapers published in Poland, yet Chancellor Angela Merkel remains silent (if she didn't actually give her consent, that is). I can already hear the German diplomats' reassurances that buying newspapers is just business and that politics has nothing to do with it. This is clearly wrong, because such transactions do not take place in a political vacuum. ... The fact that the PiS poses a threat to free media has long been known in Europe and the US. After all, the US State Department did react to the attacks on the television channel TVN. Germany is proud of its democratic media. But in practice the country finds it difficult to defend its values.” (PL) /

Unnecessary hysteria

Commenting in, Michał Karnowski can't understand all the fuss:

“The reactions to the sale can be seen as exaggerated or hysterical. The Polska Press Group has never been a particularly politicised medium, since local readers are primarily looking for local information. Granted, you get a sense of its political leanings when you look at the choice of headlines over an extended period of time, but most of the editorial teams have focused primarily on serving their region. ... The market has its laws. Anyone who tries to politicise regional media will put readers off and render these media useless. So I wouldn't expect any major revolutions.”