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Risch, Shaheen, Bipartisan Group of Senators Warn Polish Government Against Pursuing Legislation that Targets Free Media, Jeopardizes U.S. Investments

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Helsinki Commission Chairman Ben Cardin (D-Md.) in a joint statement in response to legislation being considered by Poland’s parliament that would infringe on a free, independent media and jeopardize U.S. media investments in Poland:

“The Polish government’s continued democratic backsliding, most recently through efforts designed to undermine independent media and one of the largest U.S. investments in the country, is deeply concerning. As a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, we want to make clear to the Polish government that we are watching these events carefully. We are monitoring legislation under consideration in the Polish parliament that, if passed and signed into law, would discriminate against non-EU companies and likely force out of Poland a major U.S. investor employing several thousand people. This legislation, coupled with Poland’s refusal to renew the license for the firm TVN, continues a troubling trajectory for Poland’s democracy. This is not the way to attract foreign investments and would further undermine media freedoms for which Poles have long fought,” said the senators.

They continued, “These and other steps, which Poland – a NATO ally and close friend and partner of the United States – has recently taken, do not reflect the shared values that underpin our bilateral relationship. Any decision to implement these laws could have negative implications for defense, business, and trade relations. We urge the Polish government to pause before acting on any measure that would impact our longstanding relationship.”