Not the most popular guy in Eastern Europe these days
Soros is helping publisher Agora SA in their take-over bid for Radio Zet, in an effort to stop Fratria, a publisher of a pro-government weekly Sieci, according to Wirtualnemedia.pl portal.
Poland is following the example of Hungary, where an anti-Soros campaign ended in the Hungarian-born billionaire’s foundation leaving the country.
On Monday, the ruling Law & Justice party spokeswoman Beata Mazurek said on Twitter: “The state should do everything to stop market speculators from increasing their influence on the media market.”
But Bloomberg reported that hours later, Deputy Culture Minister Pawel Lewandowski told wPolsce.pl television that the government does not have the legal means other than usual anti-monopoly legislation to stop the deal.
“The problem is how to measure concentration on the media market with multiple platforms and how to measure concentration on the market of ideas, we don’t have tools for that,” he said. “I’d like to have legal grounds to do it.”
The Law & Justice party has repeatedly called for a “re-Polonization” of its foreign-owned media, but after an international campaign, the government has shelved plans that could force foreign media owners out.
By imposing rules to limit ownership on groups whose cross-platform holdings and market share are deemed “dominant”, foreign media players will be at a disadvantage.
Lyudmyla Kozlovska, a young Ukrainian “human rights defender” working for Soros’s Open Dialog Foundation, has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with anti-Polish activists for the cause.
Last year, the Polish government deported Kozlovska without any explanation. The likely reason is that she and her Polish husband, Bartosz Kramek, had been instigating riots against the ruling party.
Kozlovska admitted that her husband had posted a statement on Facebook calling for civil disobedience.
When Kozlovska – who had met with Soros personally – traveled to Brussels, she was turned away at the border because Polish officials had placed an alert in the Schengen Information System (SIS), a shared EU database flagging “unwelcome” foreigners during border control.
Kozlovska and Kramek told the Washington Post that they have reason to believe that the Internal Security Agency regards them as a threat to public safety.