TVP is obliged to apologise Bartosz Kramek, Lyudmyla Kozlovska and the Open Dialogue Foundation for the violation of their personal rights – ruled the District Court in Warsaw. In addition, TVP must pay a total of PLN 200,000 in damages. “This is yet another win in our litigation for infringement of our personal rights. The trial with TVP had the widest scope of all. We could not have imagined any different outcome. TVP is a sweatshop of hate speech and propaganda,” Bartosz Kramek told Wirtualnemedia.pl.
The victory in the court battle was communicated on social media by Lyudmyla Kozlovska, President of the Open Dialogue Foundation and privately the wife of Bartosz Kramek, Chairman of the ODF’s Board.
- “On 13 June 2023, the District Court in Warsaw ordered TVP to apologise for personal rights violation and pay damages for the dissemination of false information about the Open Dialogue Foundation, Lyudmyla, Bartosz Kramek and Silk Road Biuro Analiz i Informacji [Bartosz Kramek’s company – ed.]. This is an unprecedented court ruling against a massive rights violation as a result of a smear campaign unleashed by TVP. After 6 years following the first slander and 4 years of court proceedings, the Law and Justice’s propaganda machine has been forced to apologise for its lies and pay compensation,” wrote Lyudmyla Kozlovska.
She also added that since the Law and Justice came to power, [TVP] has been groundlessly accusing the Open Dialogue Foundation of “financing its activities with Russian money”, “trying to provoke a “bloody Euromaidan in Poland””, “laundering oligarchs’ dirty money”, “working for the secret services of Russia, Brussels, Germany and Soros against the Polish authorities”. “In fact, the true reason for the persecution by the Polish authorities was that the Foundation criticised the government and defended independent courts in Poland internationally,” the activist stressed. The lawsuit concerned 37 pieces of material broadcast on TVP channels.
“A court ruling demanding redress and an apology is, therefore, a milestone. Besides, it also serves as an example for many other victims of the defamatory propaganda attack, and a proof that it is wise to be steadfast in the defence of one’s rights and stand up in solidarity for independent courts,” Lyudmyla Kozlovska pointed out.
TVP must publish an apology in its “Wiadomości” news programme
The court records provided by Kozlovska show that TVP must, within 14 days of the judgment becoming final, publish a statement that: “[it] hereby expresses its apologies to Ms Lyudmyla Kozlovska, Mr Bartosz Kramek and the Open Dialogue Foundation for infringement of their personal rights, in particular their right to a reputation and good name, and the right to protect their image in the form of the Foundation’s logo, by disseminating defamatory and untrue information in numerous publications and video footage via TVP’s website: www.wiadomosci.tvp.pl”.
The court also specified that the statement was to be written on an A4 size sheet, in bold Times New Roman font in black and a minimum size of 20. The message will not be editable. It is to be displayed continuously for 60 days at the top of the homepage, before any other footage. Similar statements by TVP must also be posted on www.tvp.info, vod.tvp.pl, www.polandin.com and tvp.world.
Moreover, the apology should appear as the first news item in the main evening edition of “Wiadomości news service at 7:30 p.m. and in ‘woronicza17’ programme at 7:30 p.m. The text of the statement is to be read out by the news anchor and the broadcast time must not be shorter than 30 seconds. The above-mentioned statements are also to be issued over the defamatory material concerning Kozlovska, Kramek and ODF, which is still available on TVP websites (some of which has already been deleted).
TVP is also obliged to pay damages of over PLN 60 thousand in favour of Bartosz Kramek, Lyudmyla Kozlovska and ODF, and PLN 20 thousand in favour of Silk Road Biuro Analiz i Informacji. This compensation is to be paid along with the statutory interest accrued from 17 October 2019.
“I can make a snarky comment that we used to be Russian agents long before it became trendy. This is yet another win in our litigation for infringement of our personal rights. The trial with TVP had the widest scope of all. We could not have imagined any different outcome. TVP is a sweatshop of hate speech and propaganda. We have been waiting for this judgment for a really long time, but this is the first instance ruling only. Unfortunately, it is easy to lie and throw slander around, and it takes years to fight slander and conduct lawsuits” Bartosz Kramek told Wirtualnemedia.pl.
We asked Telewizja Polska whether they would challenge the court’s decision. “The judgment is yet not final, and hence, it is not yet enforceable. Once the verdict and its justification have been formally served, the Company will decide on possible legal steps,” the TVP Information Desk told us.
The Foundation run by Kramek and Kozlovska filed 20 lawsuits
In October 2019, the Open Dialogue Foundation filed a number of personal injury lawsuits, among others, against TVP, Radio Poland, Fratria Media Group (i.e. the publisher of. “Sieci” weekly and wPolityce.pl website) and against the Law and Justice deputies such as e.g. Joachim Brudziński, Maciej Wąsik, Patryk Jaki, Krystyna Pawłowicz, Ryszard Czarnecki and the editor-in-chief of “Gazeta Polska” and “Gazeta Polska Codziennie”, Tomasz Sakiewicz.
“Since 2017, the Open Dialogue Foundation has been under attack on the part of the Law and Justice’s government, state structures subordinate to it, and government and pro-government media. We have been accused of, among other things, espionage, terrorist activities, organising a coup d’état, illegal funding, moral scandals. They used fake news, manipulation, ‘leaked’ information gathered by the Polish services and tax authorities, and finally – very dubious sources from the countries of the former USSR (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Moldova). The President of the Foundation, Lyudmyla Kozlovska, was unlawfully expelled from the EU by the Law and Justice party, as she recently reported in a highly-publicised article in Gazeta Wyborcza,” Joanna Cuper of the Open Dialogue Foundation told us.
The Polish Television was sued for PLN 200,000 for “slander regarding weapons trafficking, Russian sponsorship, possession of Russian passports, links to Russian special services, money laundering, funding by oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov, a treason against Ukraine and planning a state coup”. Also, the Radio Poland was sued for PLN 200,000, Fratria – for PLN 100, 000; Marcin Rey – for PLN 100,000; Balli Marzec –for PLN 20,000; Witold Gadowski, a journalist – for PLN 30,000; Tomasz Sakiewicz, the editor-in-chief at “Gazeta Polska” and “Gazeta Polska Codziennie” – for PLN 30,000; Marcin Wikło (Sieci) – for PLN 300,000; Marek Pyza (Sieci) – PLN 300,000, Wojciech Biedroń (Sieci) – PLN 200,000; and Tomasz Sakiewicz and Niezależna Publishing House – PLN 50,000. The following politicians were also sued: Maciej Wąsik – for PLN 30,000; Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk – for PLN 30,000; Krystyna Pawłowicz – for PLN 15,000; Patryk Jaki – for PLN 15,000; Joachim Brudziński – for PLN 30,000; Witold Waszczykowski – for PLN 30,000; Jacek Saryusz-Wolski – for PLN 20,000; Dominik Tarczyński – for PLN 15,000, and, finally, Ryszard Czarnecki – for PLN 30,000.
- Polish state broadcaster TVP forced to apologise and pay damages following court verdict (July 4, 2023)
- Onet: The Open Dialogue Foundation Wins Against the Polish Public TV (TVP): Apologies and PLN 200 000 of Compensatory Damages (June 29, 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)
- 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)