The Press Freedom Monitoring Centre of the Union of Polish Journalists (CMWP SDP) protests against the decision of the District Court in Warsaw, which ordered “Gazeta Polska”, among other things, to pay compensation to Bartosz Kramek from the Open Dialogue Foundation. Kramek had sued the editorial board for a cover on which he was depicted as a Wehrmacht soldier.
The cover of the weekly newspaper for August 2017 was a photomontage of a picture of Wehrmacht soldiers destroying the border barrier on the Polish border. In addition to Bartosz Kramek, Civic Platform leader Grzegorz Schetyna, the former leader of “Modern” (Nowoczesna) party Ryszard Petru and the leader of the “Citizens of Poland” movement, Paweł Kasprzak, can be recognised on this cover.
In the lawsuit, Kramek demanded PLN 30,000 in compensation, PLN 20,000 to the Women’s Rights Centre Foundation and an apology. The editorial board of “Gazeta Polska” demanded that the lawsuit be dismissed.
On Wednesday, the first hearing was held at the District Court of Warsaw and the verdict was passed the same day. The court ordered the editorial board of “Gazeta Polska” to pay PLN 10,000 in compensation and to publish an apology within 14 days in the weekly newspaper and on the Gazetapolska.pl website.
According to the CMWP SDP, this decision may discourage journalists “from presenting in the form of publications an important problem that requires public clarification, which is always the transparency of the financing of public activities and the people involved in them”. According to CMWP, the decision could also trigger self-censorship among other journalists.
- Bartosz Kramek for Gazeta Wyborcza: PiS, Moldova – a common issue (29.04.2019)