Why are Polish media protesting today? We explain

Luc Williams

More than 350 editorial offices and organizations associating journalists are protesting the amendment to the Copyright Act. The slogan “Politicians! Don’t kill Polish media” appeared on many newspaper front pages and first pages today.

Amendment to the Copyright Act

Why such a stir? The parliament is currently working on an amendment to the Copyright Act. Among other things, it regulates how digital platforms are to settle accounts with publishers for using the content they produce. Adopting this act is a must for Poland – we are the last country in the EU that has not yet implemented the EU Copyright Directive. Its implementation is one of the goals of adopting the act.

EU regulations introduce the right for press publishers to exclusively exploit their publications online via internet platforms. This includes Google, which benefits from the work of publishers by implementing, for example, the Discover service. This right provides a basis for the publisher to demand a fee for articles by its journalists used in this way. Part of the money is to go directly to the author of the publication.

Tough negotiations with Google

However, it is not easy to negotiate with digital giants, because they benefit from monopoly power. That is why Polish law was supposed to have a mechanism that introduces arbitration between the platform and the publisher if they do not reach an agreement themselves. However, the amendment that introduced this mechanism was lost in the Sejm.

As Elżbieta Rutkowska, a journalist and digital market expert, wrote in DGP: “In the form passed by the lower house, the amendment to the copyright law will give publishers and journalists exactly as much as Google sees fit to pay for our work. Which is not much. The experience of other countries around the world clearly shows that without sufficiently strong pressure – for example, a special arbitration mechanism – the media cannot count on fair payment for their content used by global internet platforms.”

– If the agreement on remuneration for the use of content by platforms and big tech does not take place, the next intervention of the European legislator will probably be possible in 3-4 years at the earliest. The question arises as to how many entities will not survive the test of time – warned Tomasz Chróstny, president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, in an interview for money.pl.

Amendment needed in the Senate

What will happen if politicians in the Senate do not introduce the proposed amendment? Paweł Nowacki, an independent consultant of the media and e-commerce market, explained the podcast “Wittenberg talks about technologies”. – We have to wonder whether there will ever be a journalist at a press conference who will hold a microphone with the Google or Facebook logo. I think there will be none – he ironically said.

Meanwhile, large platforms can introduce so-called private censorship – based on arbitrarily adopted “community standards” using algorithms to decide whether some content can be publicly discussed or not.

Facebook censored journalists

Reality gave journalists a surprising argument in the discussion. Andrzej Andrysiak, president of the Local Media Association, published an entry on X in which he shows how Facebook… removed information that local newspapers tried to place on it about the media protest.

More on how media financing works, how the emergence of big tech has changed the media and what will happen if they are gone in the podcast “Wittenberg Talks about Tech”.


Luc's expertise lies in assisting students from a myriad of disciplines to refine and enhance their thesis work with clarity and impact. His methodical approach and the knack for simplifying complex information make him an invaluable ally for any thesis writer.