Welcome to The Fix’s weekly news digest! Every week, we bring you important news stories from the world of media – and try to put them in a wider context.
Polish Sejm, the lower house of the country’s parliament, has passed a controversial media law that would prevent non-EEA countries from taking over Polish TV and radio stations – and, according to critics, would hinder media freedom and worsen the country’s relations with the US.
The bill has had a tumultuous road, passed by a narrow majority after Agreement, a junior coalition member, had opposed the legislation and left the government. Despite this conflict, “[ruling party Law and Justice] successfully persuaded enough MPs from smaller parties to vote in favour of the bill,” according to The Guardian. The law has yet to be passed by the upper house and signed by President Andrzej Duda.
The United States, one of Poland’s most important allies, has pushed back against the new legislation. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has noted in a statement that the US “is… deeply troubled by draft legislation…. that targets the most watched independent news station, which is also one of the largest U.S. investments in the country.” US company Discovery Inc owns one of Poland’s largest TV broadcasters TVN, which will be targeted by the law.
More from The Fix: Polish government moves in on media
Facebook said this week it had uncovered and removed a Russian account network linked to COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. According to the social media platform, the anti-vaccination campaign has targeted India, Latin America, and the United States. Over 300 Facebook and Instagram accounts were removed.
As Sky News notes, the advertising agency Fazze, which is registered in the UK, “sought to pay social media influencers to repost misleading content about vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca.”
While Russia is suspected of promoting vaccine conspiracy theories, the authorities in the United States are working with social media influencers to promote the vaccine.
According to the New York Times’ report, to promote vaccines among young people, “the White House has enlisted an eclectic army of more than 50 Twitch streamers, YouTubers, TikTokers and the 18-year-old pop star Olivia Rodrigo.”
State and local governments are working on similar campaigns with “local micro influencers” with at least several thousand followers.
Recent numbers showcase growth trends for leading media outlets.
New York Times published its results for the previous quarter last week, reporting subscription growth that has helped reach 8 million subscribers, as well as $93 million in adjusted operating profit.
While the subscription growth has been modest compared to previous quarters, and the company acknowledged that “the news cycle will continue to have significant effects on [the] subscription growth,” New York Times remains an uncontested leader among news media outlets.
Bloomberg was reported this week to have reached 325,000 paid subscribers. That’s a 34% growth in the first half of the year, and over 40% of subscribers come from outside the United States, Axios reports. Revenue also grew significantly; interestingly, “the company’s pivot from live to virtual to hybrid events has led to a 500% revenue increase year-over-year.”