Discovery, Inc. today announced that it has formally notified the Polish government that it will take legal action under the bilateral investment treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of Poland.
The notification follows Poland’s discriminatory campaign against Discovery’s TVN, including its refusal to renew TVN24’s broadcasting license, and culminated in the vote yesterday in the lower house of the Polish Parliament to pass legislation that would ban upstream 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.
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.
The Notice of Dispute was sent to President Andrzej Duda earlier today. Discovery continues to strive for a positive resolution to this situation, but should this fail, Discovery intends to commence arbitration proceedings in accordance with Article IX(3) of the Treaty and seek full compensation for Poland’s breaches.
JB Perrette, President and CEO of Discovery International, said: “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 US-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 US-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.”
Poland’s conduct violates several obligations under the Treaty signed between the US and the Republic of Poland on 21 March 1990. The obligations include fair and equitable treatment, non-impairment by arbitrary and discriminatory measures, non-discrimination in granting licenses, and the prohibition on expropriation without compensation.
Discovery, Inc. is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and nearly 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as discovery+, Food Network Kitchen and MotorTrend OnDemand; digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media; a landmark natural history and factual content partnership with the BBC; and a strategic alliance with PGA TOUR to create the international home of golf. Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the multi-platform JV with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Network, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. For more information, please visit corporate.discovery.com and follow @DiscoveryIncTV across social platforms.