After nearly four years, the Open Dialogue Foundation won a lawsuit against the Polish Public TV (TVP), which it had sued for violating the personal rights of the Foundation, Lyudmyla Kozlovska and Bartosz Kramek. The public boradcaster is to pay PLN 200 000 in compensatory damages and to publish an apology on its website and in all major news and current affairs programmes. The judgment is not final and binding.
Apologies are to be broadcast in the “Wiadomości” news programme, “Panorama” and major current affairs programme services of TVP Info andpublished on TVP’s website plus payment of PLN 200 000 by way of compensatory damages – these are the consequences to be suffered by TVP for violation of personal rights of the Open Dialogue Foundation and of Lyudmyla Kozlovska and her husband Bartosz Kramek. This is the outcome of an almost four-year-long court dispute. The Foundation sued TVP after a series of deceitful, aggressive claims on government television about the Foundation. The judgment is not final and binding.
“TVP accused us of even being the source of all evil; specifically, that we had illegal or at least suspicious funding from Germany and Russia, that we were laundering dirty money, that we were getting weapons ready for a ‘bloody Maidan’ in Poland, that we acted like terrorists, that we had connections to Russian security services,” this is what Bartosz Kramek of the Open Dialogue Foundation told Onet.
“They claimed that our Foundation was operating on behalf of foreign intelligence services or covert mysterious principals against Poland, that we were servants to the ‘Brussels elite’, that we were funding participants in protests defending the independence of Poland’s judiciary with money from Berlin, the Kremlin and George Soros…. I could go on and on,” he emphasized. “The attacks on us lasted for weeks, were disseminated across many TVP channels, even those broadcast in foreign languages, although no doubt their greatest intensity was on “Wiadomosci” and the TVP Info programmes,” says Kramek.
“The colossal scale of this gross and deceitful misrepresentation of reality is reflected in our lawsuit that covered almost 40 segments that appeared on TVP during the period from 2017 to 2019. And this was only the tip of the iceberg; the advertising value equivalent of these programmes ran into tens of millions,” he explains.
“The perfidy of this whole campaign was that we, as the Open Dialogue Foundation, were among the first to go to help when the revolution broke out in Kyiv’s Maidan. And after the Russian aggression, we have been sending helmets and bulletproof vests for soldiers. Furthermore, we also took Law and Justice (PiS) politicians to Ukraine, urged for sanctions to be imposed and arms’ supplies to be sent to Ukrainian soldiers from 2014 onwards, and our anti-Kremlin attitude was I guess quite obvious to everyone,” says Kramek.
“Despite all this, TVP tried to portray us as being Russian agents. It is like accusing a fireman of being a pyromaniac,” he points out.
“This judgment, which was just passed, was long awaited by us. Considering the degree of reality falsification by TVP and all the fake news they disseminated, one could hardly expect a different outcome,” emphasizes Kramek. “The ruling in this dispute that concerned the violation of our personal rights is very solid. I have no doubt that TVP will appeal against it. But as long as we end up seeing judges in the second-instance court, and not robe-wearing impostors, the judgment should not change. I merely think that the financial sanctions should be much higher in order to have some teaching effect,” concludes Kramek.
Hunt for ODF
The Polish state has waged war against Kozlovska and Kramek since 2017, which was when Kramek published the manifesto “Let the State Come to a Stop: Let’s Shut Down the Government!” on Facebook. By doing so Kramek proposed relying on the experience of the Ukrainian Maidan as an example of “how to stop the Law and Justice’s assault on the rule of law in Poland”.
His publication triggered a series of attacks on ODF by the Polish government, including customs and tax audits of the Foundation, attempts to bring in an external receiver and attempts to deprive the Foundation of its accreditation with EU institutions in Brussels. None of these attempts have been successful, as we wrote in the article under the title: “Co ma ABW i MSZ na Kozłowską? Nic, ale polowanie trwa” (“What do the Internal Security Agency (ABW) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MSZ) have on Kozlovska? Nothing, but the hunt is on”).
In the summer of 2018 Poland entered Lyudmyla Kozlovska into the Schengen Information System, causing her immediate expulsion from the EU. Both she and her husband had long expected the Polish government to play the deportation card in retaliation for Kramek’s public activism.In December of 2022 the Supreme Administrative Court ruled — contrary to the claims of the special services subordinate to the Law and Justice (PiS) party — that Kozłowska posed no threat to the security of the Polish state. Nevertheless, she is banned from entering Poland to this day.
- Polish state broadcaster TVP forced to apologise and pay damages following court verdict (July 4, 2023)
- OKO.press: The Polish Public TV (TVP) Lost in a Major Lawsuit Against the Open Dialogue Foundation and the Foundation’s Leaders (June 29, 2023)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: The Open Dialogue Foundation has faulted Law and Justice. Now they win court battle after battle, recently against state TVP (July 2, 2023)
- Press: TVP is to apologise to the Open Dialogue Foundation at the beginning of “Wiadomości” news service and pay compensation of PLN 200,000 (July 3, 2023)
- Wirtualne Media: TVP is to apologise to the Open Dialogue Foundation at the beginning of “Wiadomości” news service and pay compenstation of PLN 200,000 (July 3, 2023)
- Salon24: TVP has to apologise the Foundation run by Kramek and Kozlovska. The Open Dialogue has won in court (July 3, 2023)
- Spider’s Web: TVP lost in court. It must apologise to the Open Dialogue Foundation (July 3, 2023)
- Gazeta.pl: TVP must broadcast the apology as the first piece of news in “Wiadomości” news service. The court precisely designated the specific time of the broadcast (July 3, 2023)