Polish Upper House votes to scrap TV, radio licence

by Andy Sennitt

The Senate, the upper house of the Polish parliament, voted yesterday for the controversial media law which aims to scrap the TV and radio licence fee. The ruling Civic Platform dominated Senate voted 45 for, 38 against with one abstention for the media bill, which has already passed through the Sejm, the lower house of parliament. The Senate introduced an amendment to the draft, however, which reads that there will be no minimal sum assigned for public media.

The funding is to be decided annually by the National Broadcasting Council in cooperation with the Finance Ministry. The most important plans in the new law are the scrapping of receiver licence fees in 2010, along with the restructuring of both the National Broadcasting Council - one of the two regulatory bodies - and the public broadcaster TVPís regional operations.

In the place of the licence fee the government wants to introduce direct funding from taxes with a guarantee of around 900 million zloty for public broadcasters TVP and Polskie Radio.