Digital Empire in the Making

Law and Justice Party's Conquest of Polish Traditional and Digital Media

12 January 2021

Filip Konopczyński

Visegrad Insight Fellow

By acquiring local media Law and Justice secured its hegemony over the Polish digital landscape. However, PKN Orlen’s takeover of the Polish local private media could serve as a real-life stress-test for European lawmakers.

The last two months of 2020 turned out to be very eventful in Polish politics. While most of the attention was focused on the EU Multi-annual Financial Framework negotiations and the dispute over the rule of law conditionality mechanism, another piece of important news shook the general public.

PKN Orlen, a state-controlled petrol behemoth and one of the country’s largest companies, acquired a private media conglomerate Polskapresse in early December, a move that Wojciech Przybylski and Edit Zgut accurately described in their article as Orbán-like.

As soon as the allegedly 120 million zlotys transaction gets an approval from the Polish consumer protection agency (a mere formality, since the party also controls it) 20 out of 24 regional newspapers, 120 weeklies and 500 news portals will be owned and directly supervised by ruling party appointees.

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Filip Konopczyński

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Co-founder of Kalecki Foundation, an independent think tank devoted to sustainable economic and environmental development. He is a social researcher and market analyst as well as a publicist and commentator.

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