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News media outlets and owners
Country report 2023

Michał Głowacki, Alicja Jaskiernia, Katarzyna Gajlewicz-Korab, Maria Łoszewska-Ołowska, Dagmara Sidyk-Furman

Table of Contents


The Polish media market is one of the largest in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The current structures originate from transforming state media into public services and introducing media freedom and pluralism in the aftermath of the democratic turns post-1989 (Jakubowicz, 2004). Through more than three decades, media ownership structures have experienced significant systemic and cultural changes, often blending the CEE cultural path-dependencies with the Western normative view(s) of media plurality, diversity and inclusion. This has also been accompanied by a call for media policy adaptation, and a change to the global trends in media technology and professional journalism culture (Klimkiewicz, 2014; Dobek-Ostrowska, 2019).

The more recent contexts for Poland’s media ownership include 1) market consolidation with the dominant role of TV and online media, 2) technological adaptation – towards digital media users’ practices, 3) the rise of high-tech and data-driven media, and 4) the challenge of established media’s organisational and management adaptation (Głowacki et al., 2022). While the focus of this study has been on mapping systemic patterns in media ownership and transparency, the Polish case demonstrates highly interwoven cultural relationships between media ownership and politics, which is among the critical layers of societal, cultural and media polarisation (Dzięciołowski, 2017; Głowacki & Kuś, 2019). The Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM) highlights the greatest risk for media pluralism in the Polish case in the areas of market plurality (71%) and political independence (75%) (MPM, 2023).

Since 2015, Poland’s conservative government policies have raised concerns in the European Union communities about the decline of media freedom alongside internal and external pluralism. Multiplication of political narratives over democracy (with an observable clash of the so-called conservative vs liberal philosophies), the government capture of public service media and the policies of ‘media repolonisation’ (‘regaining’ Poland’s ownership from foreign owners) has echoed in the ongoing national and the international debates on the state of Poland’s rule of law and rational-legal authority (Freedom House, 2017; Reporters Without Borders, 2021). These debates accompany broader discussions on media ownership concentration and societal discourses concerning proprietorship and identity of Polish media (Jaskiernia & Pokorna-Ignatowicz, 2017; Donders, 2021).

This report builds on the Euromedia Ownership Monitor (EurOMo) methodology to look at the state-of-the-art of Poland’s media plurality regulations and ownership transparency (the systemic level). Findings are built on the case studies of 21 media outlets (across media sectors and socio-political relevance for diversity) examined in April–June 2023 through previous preparation work of the EurOMo project (sample creation). The concluding parts discuss critical challenges when addressing recency, access and findability of media ownership data. This study aims to position media ownership regulations and discussions on the risks for transparency in highly polarised socio-political contexts (the cultural level).

Outlets and Owners

The sample of 21 media organisations in Poland reflects, through two critical layers, the media’s position in a specific established media sector and its relevance for socio-political diversity. In line with this, the case studies from Poland have been chosen due to their high audience rates (readership, listening, viewing, internet users, etc.) in the following five critical segments: newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and web-only. Through a relevance for socio-political diversity, we also build on additional case studies from the Catholic radio station Radio Maryja and a regional newspaper, Gazeta Pomorska—recently acquired by the state-controlled multi-energy enterprise Orlen—arguing their relevance in conservative government media policies and related ownership discourses. Media polarisation and related multiplication of voices towards media plurality are visible in other segments. There is for example the polarisation of the magazine sector of conservative magazines (Sieci, Do Rzeczy) vs liberal titles (Newsweek Polska, Polityka). There is also TV polarisation of conservative vs liberal views and news offerings of the public service media—TVP—and the privately owned TVN of Warner Bros. Discovery).

Table 1 illustrates Poland’s case studies and their relationships with media groups and main owners (the systemic level); media groups are alphabetically ordered.

Table 1. Polish sample of media outlets



Media Group

Main owners*

Gazeta Wyborcza



NATIONALE-NEDERLANDEN Powszechne Towarzystwo Emerytalne S.A. (9.65%), Agora-Holding sp. z o.o. (11.60%), Media Development Investment Fund. Inc. (11.50%), Powszechne Towarzystwo Emerytalne PZU S.A. (17.45%)

Radio ZET




Cyfrowy Polsat (Grupa Polsat Plus)

Zygmunt Józef Solorz (64.04%), Tobias Markus Solorz (0.88%), Tobe Investments Group Limited (0.70%), Nationale-Nederlanden Powszechne Towarzystwo Emerytalne S.A. (6.42%)

Polsat News





Jacek Karnowski, Apella S.A., Spółdzielczy Instytut Naukowy G. Bierecki sp.j.



Gremi Media

Pluralis B.V. (38.83%), KCI S.A. (32.82%), Youngtimers AG (6.60%), Digital Investment Platform S.a r.l (6.40%)



Grupa RMF (Bauer)

Yvonne Saskia Bauer (85.00% shares; 43.35% votes), Heinz Heinrich Bauer (0.00% shares, 49% votes)

Do Rzeczy


Orle Pióro

PMPG Polskie Media S.A. (81%)




Jerzy Baczyński, Polityka sp. z o.o.

Gazeta Pomorska


Polska Press

Skarb Państwa / State Treasury (49.90%) and NATIONALE-NEDERLANDEN Powszechne Towarzystwo Emerytalne S.A. (5.40%) – via Orlen S.A. (formerly PKN Orlen S.A.; 100%)

Program I Polskiego Radia (Jedynka)


Polskie Radio

Skarb Państwa / State Treasury (100%)

Radio Maryja


Prowincja Warszawska Zgromadzenia Najświętszego Odkupiciela



Ringier Axel Springer Polska

Friede Springer (22.50%), Mathias Döpfner (21.90%), Axel Sven Springer (5.00%), Ariane Melanie Springer (1.00%), KKR & Co. Inc. (35.60%), Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (12.90%)


Newspapers (Onet)




Telewizja Polska (TVP)

Skarb Państwa / State Treasury (100%)

TVP Info




TVN Warner Bros. Discovery

Advance/Newhouse Programming Partnership (8.16%), BlackRock, Inc. (11.73%), The Vanguard Group, Inc. (15.21%), State Street Corporation (7.67%), Capital Research and Management Company (8.91%), Brahman Capital Corp. (5.25%), ClearBridge Investments LLC (5.05%)



Tygodnik Powszechny


Tygodnik Powszechny (Wirtualna Polska)


Wirtualna Polska

Michał Wiktor Brański (via NOW2 SP. Z O.O. and 10X S.A.), Jacek Świderski (via Eurydyka sp. z o.o. and Orfe S.A.), Krzysztof Daniel Sierota (via Highcastle sp. z o.o. and Albemuth Inwestycje S.A.), Powszechne Towarzystwo Emerytalne Allianz Polska S.A. (12.55%)

* Focusing on beneficial owners (natural persons), when possible, to identify. Otherwise, we indicate relevant companies.

Who Owns What

The TV market in Poland has been dominated by three large broadcasters TVP, TVN and Polsat. The former, TVP, is public service media (PSM) owned by the state treasury, with its main national TVP1, TVP2 channels and regional TVP3 branches. Polsat is owned by Poland’s Cyfrowy Polsat (Grupa Polsat Plus) company, and TVN belongs to TVN Warner Bros. Discovery – the American media and entertainment enterprise Warner Bros. Discovery via Polish subsidiary TVN Warner Bros. Discovery. The layers of competition have extended to the genre TV channels in sports, science, culture, nature, documentary, factual, fiction, kids programmes, and so on. All three major players have created 24-hour news channels, with Polsat News – at 1.7 % of the total audience and TVP Info and TVN24 at 4.82% and 4.84% of the total audience accordingly (, 2023).

In the newspapers, we examine the two most popular Polish dailies: Fakt and Gazeta Wyborcza. The tabloid-like newspaper Fakt is owned by Ringier Axel Springer Polska – the multimedia company that originated in Germany and Switzerland. The company’s ownership portfolio is an example of cross-media strategies, with investments in magazines (Newsweek Polska, Forbes), online (, Noizz) and e-commerce (online services and apps). The same strategies apply to Agora – the owner of Gazeta Wyborcza alongside several print press and digital media brands (, Wysokie Obcasy), radio (Radio Zet, TOK FM, Radio Złote Przeboje), film and cinema (Helios) and outdoor advertising (AMS). Poland’s sample in this study also looks at the structures and transparency of the newspaper Rzeczpospolita and its owner Gremi Media (which has Dutch, Swiss, Polish and Luxembourger shareholders).

The more holistic view of Poland’s newspaper industry examines the example of Gazeta Pomorska – one of the regional dailies owned by Polska Press. The purchase of Polska Press from the Germany-owned Passauer Neue Presse by Orlen company has been regarded as the blend of implementation of media repolonisation as well as a potential restriction to media pluralism and freedom. On the surface, one of the latest Media Pluralism Monitor studies has raised concerns about the regional newspapers’ editorial independence and the effects of the state captures on local media concentration (MPM, 2023).

There are other significant multimedia groups active in the press and radio markets. For instance, Grupa ZPR Media owns the third largest readership newspaper Super Express and across sectors, is also on the radio (Radio Eska, Plus Radio) alongside online, TV production, books and events. In the radio, the most popular network Grupa RMF belongs to Bauer Media – another multi-business company and one of the largest publishers of magazines (TV guides, celebrity, people) in Poland, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. The critical competition for the listeners’ and advertising share on the national radio markets is among two private companies: RMF, Radio Zet and the radio channels of Polskie Radio (public service radio), which aim to serve the public remit as laid down in the Broadcasting Act (1992).

There are also nine radio stations with the legal status of social broadcasters issued to foundations or church and religious associations (KRRiT, 2021). In line with this, the EurOMo sample for Poland includes Radio Maryja – the largest national social broadcaster. The radio is owned by the Warsaw Redemptorists Province, and its founder – Roman Catholic priest Tadeusz Rydzyk – has also launched a foundation, which owns the daily Nasz Dziennik, TV TRWAM alongside the media and journalism school located in the headquarters in Toruń.

Finally, there is a wide range of media ownership looking at the ‘opinion’ weeklies with Newsweek Polska (Ringier Axel Springer Polska) competing for readership with Polityka (Polityka), Sieci (Fratria), Tygodnik Do Rzeczy (Orle Pióro) and Tygodnik Powszechny (Tygodnik Powszechny). The Polish EurOMo ownership sample also looks at two case studies from online-only media. The news portals (Wirtualna Polska) and (Ringier Axel Springer Polska) share internet user figures with (Grupa Polsat Plus) and global social media and messaging apps as well as news aggregators, such as Google (Search, News, YouTube), Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp.

Main Ownership Patterns

The discourses on media ownership in Poland reflect the overall patterns of ongoing societal and technological orientations towards digital and data-driven media alongside the diversity of legal ownership forms and multimedia strategies. Most Polish outlets are commercial law companies, including firms of limited liability and joint-stock companies. Public service media have been organised as joint-stock companies that the state treasury owns. The PSM blends state ownership with the commercial company’s law regarding accounting and financial reporting. Other ownership forms found in Poland include NGOs (foundations, associations), church legal entities (the case study of social broadcaster Radio Maryja), community media (students) and one-person businesses (in some local and regional print weekly titles).

One of the central discussions over media ownership pluralism in post-1989 Poland focuses on privatisation and the amount of foreign ownership. In recent years – from the 2010s on – we also observed the economic optimisation of business activities with the example of social weekly Polityka transforming from the worker cooperative towards a partnership limited by shares. This goes together with extensive networks of interconnections between legal entities, often illustrating the adaptation of cross-ownership strategies for production and delivery. The largest companies continue to advance their multimedia portfolios, blending media ownership with ownership from high technology and mobile (Polsat Plus Group) and non-media industries (Orlen).

The core competition in each media segment remains a risk for plurality. On the surface, the Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM) for Poland assesses 90% of risks in a plurality of media providers and an 83% risk concerning plurality in digital markets. Klimkiewicz (2023) notes the high risk for Poland’s ownership assessment juxtaposes with figures of more than 80% of ownership concentration in television (TVP, Polsat, TVN Discovery), VOD (Netflix, Polsat Box Go, Player) and the radio (RMF, Eurozet, Time, Agora). The MPM report also notes the most recent large ownership changes, including the purchase of 51% of the Eurozet (Radio Zet) shares by Agora and the that of regional Polska Press by Orlen (MPM 2023; Klimkiewicz, 2023).

Poland’s data on financial media ownership and transparency can only be read in the context of the political and social lenses and a high level of media polarisation. There is a multiplication of media pluralism debates with observable media tribes associated with either the conservative (the Government) or liberal (the opposition parties) philosophies and related editorial lines. The aspect that matters is that the government and political opposition and their supporters will have different orientations on social contexts for media repolonisation vs liberalisation. Accompanying will be a clash of values, which the conservative lens of public service media news reports on important socio-political issues, such as the relationships with the EU, LGBT+ communities, Catholic religion, media literacy and education (Gajlewicz-Korab & Szurmiński, 2022).

While there is no clear political affiliation published on the media websites, the media companies and brands can be associated along political lines, such as the conservative oriented TVP, Sieci, Do Rzeczy, Gazeta Pomorska, Radio Maryja, Polish Radio and the liberal ones of TVN, Newsweek Polska, Polityka, Gazeta Wyborcza, Findings from this study evidence that at least three media outlets from the database have natural-person media owners or members of the editorial boards with publicly known political affiliations.

Availability of Information on Media Ownership and Control

Media groups in Poland must register at the National Court Register (Krajowy Rejestr Sądowy, KRS). The digital database of the KRS provides information on media ownership and the actual beneficiaries; some media owners also publish online their ownership and the organisational structures’ charts, such as RMF Group and TVP. As established in Polish regulation, the ownership data of publishing information on media shareholders complies with more general requirements of revealing who owns shares of more than 10%. The financial data in Poland’s EurOMo has been widely based on economic reports.

One of the challenges has been estimating public support in line with laws counteracting and combating COVID-19, such as the Anti-Crisis Shield (the reduction of VAT) and Poland’s ‘de minimis’ aid. Another critical observation is that there has been no, with one exception, systemic empirical data monitoring or research to investigate the state companies’ advertising shares and how these mirror the conservative vs liberal lines and thinking (and their agendas). The exception is a study by Kowalski (2021), who notes that relationships between state companies’ advertising reward the conservative and pro-governmental line supporters. Researching websites of Poland’s media companies, the problems with information missing concerned the number of staff members (employees) and the sharing of information about the decision-making in board and management.

Main Risks to Transparency

One of the risks in assessing media ownership and transparency has been registering media companies outside Poland. While this has not become a systemic practice to date, there have been issues with accessing information about the real beneficiaries, as in the case of media ownership disruptions and escapism with the examples of firms registered in Cyprus or Luxembourg. The aspect that matters is examining media ownership and media transparency as the multiple political and social narratives blend, including the populistic ways. Bearing in mind that the question concerning proprietorship and identity of Polish media is highly polarised; the EurOMo dataset methodologies might not fully reveal who is at the end of the decision-making. The conservative and liberal media tribes’ cultures use transparency and accountability to counterpart ‘the other side(s)’, questioning media accountability, transparency, journalism professionalism, and a plurality of ‘the others’.

Media Distribution and Regulation

The Polish case study of media markets’ technological evolutions follows the general global patterns of changes in the amounts and forms of the news and overall media consumption. Poland represents the CEE case study of the dominant role of television, with the decline of newspapers and online media becoming the leading news sources. The number of kiosks in Poland has decreased rapidly, with gas stations and post offices taking over the role of traditional print press distribution. There is an observable growth of the national VOD and bVOD offer to compete with the global on-demand services, such as Disney+, HBO Max, Netflix and Amazon Prime. The cross-media portfolios of the firms studied also evidence recent shifts towards digital and discontinuing printed content. One of the challenges here has been to compete with the global mobile and social messaging services, such as Facebook, YouTube or Facebook Messenger, with 35% of people sharing news via social, messaging or e-mail (Reuters Institute, 2023).

Policy debates on media market plurality focus on the legacy and established media with relevant policy sources for digital adaptation as laid down in EU regulation. The relevant national legal sources studied in EurOMo include the audiovisual media regulation and laws associated with public service media (the Broadcasting Law, and related laws on license fees and the Council of the National Media). On a more general level, this study builds on the law on commercial companies, alongside the provisions of the National Court Register, public finance, and competition and consumer protection. In addition, we have considered the law on access to public information, telecommunications law and the press law among the sources of media ownership and transparency monitoring capabilities. Poland does not have a specific regulation for the ownership of media concentration, which requires following the general standards laid down in the competition law. The regulatory bodies that monitor media ownership are the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (for all industries) and—to some extent—the National Broadcasting Council (for broadcasting entities).

The overall challenge of assessing (and evaluating) the missing information types have been highly interwoven with transparency obligations across the established sectors. The Broadcasting Act (1992) requires disclosing the ownership, with the transparency requirements of naming the programme, company, members of governance bodies, contact details and jurisdictions. The same applies to an obligation of registering a media company and updating the ownership change in the National Court Register (the Central Registration and Information on Business Activity) within seven days. Media companies must disclose state aid (grants, loans) to the regulatory bodies in the annual financial reports. However, they are not obliged to disclose information on their revenues from commercial ads from state companies and public bodies.


At a glance, Poland’s risks for media ownership and transparency seem to be universal, as observed in other EurOMo country reports and related media pluralism market discussions. The sample of Poland’s 21 media outlets has served as a departure for addressing ownership patterns of established media industries and how they maintain both the technological change and the potential multiplications over human rights and the rule of law experience(s). On the surface, findings from the EurOMo study aimed to fill in the gap in existing comparative resources, monitoring press freedom and media pluralism in Europe (and beyond). Those findings widely illustrate the cross-media strategies, with a wide range of approaches of the key market players in terms of legal forms, multimedia portfolios and recent blends of media ownership with high tech and other industries.

Through a reference to the transparency of media ownership patterns, the case studies from five established media segments (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and web-only) evidence relatively easy access to the recent data on ownership patterns and control, with an obligation to reveal the ownership data of shareholders who hold more than 10% of a company’s shares. The challenges for Poland’s media transparency have been to find out indirect information on potential political affiliations alongside the distribution of power in management and the voting of the executive boards. While there have been no systemic problems in accessing and finding data on media ownership, some of the financial reports did require special software to access and analyse the financial company’s data. Moreover, some financial data has been retrieved from the National Court Register and regulatory authorities, not from the media’s websites.

To sum up, through the EurOMo study, we argue that media ownership data recency, access and findability, alongside the existing cross-media competitions need to be read culturally. They also need to be placed in highly polarised socio-political narratives, highlighting the changing statistics on trust and consumption among Generation Z and other younger generations of media users. The high level of political parallelism in established media might not necessarily balance the Western media pluralism theory with the CEE practice, due to the cultural path-dependencies and the blend of media reinvention strategies after 1989. Poland’s case study represents the blend of digital adaptation with high-level socio-political divisions, with multiple voices on repolonisation and the public service media delivery. To this end, the EurOMo findings call for more in-depth cultural research on media pluralism, with the potential to extend into ethnographic research and/or assessment of the emotions and the cultural map of media leaders and owners.


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Country report published in September 2023