Human rights activist Elżbieta Podlesna was held for several hours on suspicion of offending religious beliefs after she displayed a poster of the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo.
A new report finds politics, refugees, Polish-Jewish history and gender are the issues most likely to attract online threats and hate speech in Poland.
(RSF) welcomes the European Commission decision to trigger Article 7 of the European Union treaty against Poland, but regrets that the decision only addresses Poland’s moves against judicial independence and ignores its repeated attacks on the media.
In October, police in several Polish cities raided the offices of two nongovernmental organizations that support domestic violence victims and promote women’s rights. The official rationale for the raids was a search for evidence linked to alleged wrongdoing by the previous government’s Ministry of Justice. But the timing was suspicious.
Poland has largely ignored criticism from the European Union and the Council of Europe and instead moved ahead with efforts to eliminate checks on its authority, weaken human rights protection, and shrink the space for dissenting voices.
The Polish government’s plans to reform the country’s Supreme Court, which have sparked protests over a perceived erosion of the separation of powers and the rule of law, also have significant potential consequences for media freedom, Polish journalists and media experts say.
An investigative reporter for the independent newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, Tomasz Piatek is facing a possible two to three-year jail sentence in a case that is being prepared by military prosecutors and could be heard by a military court.
Poland’s government is using legislative, political, and economic means to stifle the media and limit dissent and debate within the country, according to Pluralism under Attack: The Assault on Press Freedom in Poland, a special report from Freedom House.
Despite repeated warnings by international bodies and civil society organisations, the Polish government has continued on its course of undermining the rule of law, tightening its grip on media and backsliding on human rights protection.
Following years of attempts by Poland to restrict human rights and free expression, civil society is asking the EC to invoke an “Article 7 Procedure”.
Poland’s citizens and civil society are not standing by idly while the government is demolishing the country’s democratic institutions.
“Mr. Czuchnowski’s article was clearly labelled as an opinion piece and it proceeded to express a viewpoint on a matter of political nature that is unquestionably in the public interest. There is almost no room in such circumstances for a libel claim, let alone one lodged by the governing party itself.”
Poland’s newly-elected government will be introducing a new law on public media in the coming months with the aim to exert more control on public service broadcasting media and to “repolonise” print media.
“Lukasz Masiak was one of the most recognised journalists in the region. Often he undertook and wrote about difficult and controversial topics. He wrote boldly and honestly, for which he was highly regarded in the journalistic community.”