The Polish public broadcaster has been obliged to apologise in its major news programmes for almost 40 broadcasts concerning the foundation and the couple who manage it, Bartosz Kramek and Lyudmyla Kozlovska. The District Court in Warsaw decided that the government broadcasting company was also to pay PLN 200,000 in damages. “Perhaps this court ruling will also embolden others to stand up against the way TVP operates,” says Bartosz Kramek.
The civil trial brought by ODF and its board members lasted four years and was described as unprecedented. ODF board members reported almost 40 pieces of material aired on TVP channels. The Foundation and its founders have been accused of, among other charges, “espionage, terrorist activities, organising a coup d’état, illegal fundraising and moral scandals”
Will TVP be obliged to apologise?
“They used fake news, manipulation, ‘leaked’ information gathered by the Polish security services and tax authorities, and finally – very dubious sources from the countries of the former USSR (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Moldova),” reads the ODF website.
“We were compared to the Baader-Meinhof group, and Antoni Macierewicz’s allegations that we had been given a concession by the Civic Platform to produce weapons to organise Euromaidan in Poland were also used. As in all other conspiracy theories, all the pieces of the puzzle fit together well,” says Bartosz Kramek.
In September 2019, the court granted injunctive relief in favour of ODF. TVP then removed from the web all recordings of “Wiadomości” news service, which were indicated by ODF. In substantiating the granting of injunctive relief, Judge Mariusz Solka wrote of “extremely perfidious manipulation”, and repeatedly stressed upon “the direct violation of personal rights”, “assessments of facts that have nothing to do with reality”, or “a completely one-sided narrative”.
Pursuant to the judgment issued by the District Court in Warsaw – if it becomes final – TVP SA is to release a statement expressing apologies to Kozlovska, Kramek and ODF for violating their personal rights – “including, in particular, (violating) their right to protect their reputation and good name (…) by disseminating defamatory and untrue information in numerous publications and video footage”.
This apology would appear on TVP’s web services (i.e. Wiadomosci.tvp.pl, Tvp.info, Vod.tvp.pl, Polandin.com), as well as in several TVP Info programmes, and in the main evening edition of “Wiadomości” news service at 7.30 p.m., as the first news item. Statements of apology would also be included in TVP’s archived online material defaming the activist couple and ODF.
ODF also files another complaint against Pyza, Wikla and Biedroń
According to the judgment, the government TV broadcaster is also obliged to pay damages to Lyudmyla Kozlovska, Bartosz Kramek, ODF and Silk Road – a total of PLN 200,000 plus interest calculated from 17 September 2017. Such compensation was requested by ODF board members.
However, the judgment is still not final and TVP reserves the right to appeal against it. The judgment “is not yet enforceable. Once the verdict and opinion have been formally served, the Company will decide on possible legal steps,” the TVP Information Desk told Presserwis.
ODF also sued the publishers and editors-in-chief of “Sieci” weekly magazine (Fratria, Jacek Karnowski), wPolityce.pl website (Fratria, Marzena Nykiel) and the editor-in-chief of “Gazeta Polska” (Tomasz Sakiewicz). The Foundation has also issued personal indictments against journalists such as Marek Pyza, Marcin Wikła and Wojciech Biedroń. “A judgment is due in a few weeks in the second case against Tomasz Sakiewicz, who referred to us as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact,” says Kramek.
In August 2022, the Court of Appeal in Warsaw upheld the verdict of the court of first instance, stating that Tomasz Sakiewicz and Niezależne Wydawnictwo Polskie, the publisher of “Gazeta Polska”, had violated the personal rights of Bartosz Kramek by publishing the cover of “Gazeta Polska” on which Kramek was depicted as a German breaking down the Polish border barrier in 1939. Mr Sakiewicz filed a cassation appeal, but it was dismissed.
- 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)
- 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)