In Poland, the biggest opposition party directly owns newspaper, TV channel, and indirectly donate money to few others media.

I don't think it is common situation in democratic world, is it? I could only found informations about politicians owning media in India.

  • In the US, you're allowed to print newspapers no matter who you are, political party or not. I believe that TV channels are the same, but since they're "broadcast" they can be regulated by the FCC. Jun 25, 2015 at 20:56
  • My country is Poland, India is other example of such country.
    – Ginden
    Jun 25, 2015 at 22:44
  • 4
    You need to be specific as to what you mean by "newspaper." Lots of organizations have "newspapers," but not things like the NYT, or Times of India. In fact, it could be something as simple as a church newsletter. Only when we know what is the threshold for a newspaper can we answer that portion of the question. Jun 26, 2015 at 0:28
  • 2
    @Bregalad “A party owning media other than its own journal” seems self-contradictory. If the parties owns it, it is the party's own.
    – Relaxed
    Jun 26, 2015 at 6:13
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    @Relaxed I think that is in a sense of "This is official organ of Party of Useless Party Bosses of Thisistan", vs "Times of Pudunk, stealthily owned by someone who's actually a party"
    – user4012
    Jun 29, 2015 at 22:50

4 Answers 4


It's not unheard of for individual politicians to own a media company, examples include Silvio Berlusconi or Michael Bloomberg. Perhaps more common is for media moguls to get involved in politics (directly or indirectly). There are some very famous examples like William Randolph Hearst or Rupert Murdoch.

In many countries, the newspaper business is not (very) profitable and business people clearly enter it to exert influence, not to make money or as a public service. Recently, in France, LVMH announced its intent to purchase Le Parisien, which was widely discussed in the news because it is the last nominally neutral daily newspaper that is not owned by other business interests (until now it is a for-profit business but belongs to a medium sized media group, not a corporate giant mainly active in other sectors). TV stations too follow this pattern (e.g. the most popular private TV network in France has always been controlled by a building company that strives on public contracts).

It's also relatively common for dailies to be clearly affiliated with a particular ideology and therefore to be close to a party. That's the case in the UK, in France, in Germany, etc. It's perhaps strongest in the Benelux countries, where society was explicitly thought to be organised in “pillars”, each with their own parties and media (along with sports clubs, etc.)

Finally, marxist-leninist parties traditionally control (not necessarily through “ownership” per se) a newspaper called an “organ”. Many organisations in socialist countries had a central organ but parties operating in the West did too and those still exist to an extent (even if the links with the mother party are sometimes weaker now).

So while the influence often runs the other way around and it's not common for a party to own a major newspaper outright (internal newsletters/magazines are very common of course but those are explicitly affiliated with the party and not distributed on press stands), there are very few if any purely “independent” newspapers anywhere (interestingly “independent” means different things to different people, often these days it means independent from business interests and can include clearly partisan newspapers).


Most democracies of the 21st century safeguard the 'Freedom to Press' to a good extent. This is usually put down in a regulatory-document, such as the Constitution. More often than not, it is up to the judiciary to protect the right to expression and see to it that every person is able to put his/her opinion out there. Since the lines between what is freedom and what isn't are often blurred, there is little that anyone can do to question the democratic government, considering that they legitimise themselves through the masses.

I have been hugely critical of the Polish media for quite some time now. Your country, just like several others, falls prey to a history of closely-regulated and censored press. And while Poland has had freedom of press for quite some time now, years of government intervention has dilapidated it. Some Polish politician is always acquiring and buying out a TV channel or a newspaper. And the results are pretty much as one would expect them to be.

With that said, Poland is one of the few countries that limits the press and does not allow free play. I live in India and can assure you that it is much worse here. For starters, much of the Polish happenings in telecommunications are very strongly critiqued upon by newspapers in your country. It's all out in the open. India doesn't have the same amount of transparency. Several incidents have come to light where political parties have been secretly funding news agencies and newspapers for favourable press. Considering how fierce the political competition here in India is, several politicians run huge telecommunication networks secretively behind the curtains.

In Poland, one can tell when a party is trying to use media to further their message and muster support. In India, you can't tell the same. However, much like in Poland, India has a rich tradition of newspaper reading and we have plenty to choose from. Considering that they are a lot more neutral, most of the facts that these parties try to conceal come out anyway.

The reason for this in most countries is a past riddled with censorship. For India, it was with the British government and for Poland, it was the communist regime. Once independent, these nations try and formulate ways in which no one can monopolise the media, which falls flat on its face the second they make the fundamental mistake of handing it all to the state. After India's independence in 1947, the majority-party Congress aired the only TV channel of the time: Doordarshan. Having come into power through the Hindu vote bank, they did their best to portray Hindus in a better light than Muslims. This led to several feuds at the time, most of which were very violent. Mind you, all of this was being done behind the covers and no one realised this until it was too late. Arvind Rajagopal's Politics after Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Public in India provides an apt account of how dangerous the state-run media's influence can be.

Hope this helped!


I think it is in any country, democratic or not, common for political parties to publish their newspapers, sometimes even illegal parties do it. As to the TV channels, it is much less common actually.


It may be a common situation.But media may not be directly owned by politicians.In India there might be some support from different political parties to establish media especially t.v channels.Particular t.v channels may support the ideologies of particular party as it may benifit them only.If the party won it is of course true the mediaspokesperson of the party would participate in debate and and would answer other questions with that particular t.v channel here even media like newspaper to express Ideas in interviews.There people are more interested in watching them as they care for important government policies which only thy winning party knows.But the opposition party also have influence over some media channela as they also know the truth of the winning party.They reveal their secrets which the people may not know.This is very common practice in India.The true face of a political leader is revealed in this way which is a merit.Money influencing might be unheard but there is usually a suspicion over it.One demerit is there that illegal political activities might take under the scene in which both parties are involved in which truth remains hidden.These may be scams,influence on business activities etc.

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