The Court of Appeal in Warsaw decided that the Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Open Dialogue Foundation, Bartosz Kramek, had been defamed and stigmatised by Tomasz Sakiewicz, the editor-in-chief of Gazeta Polska and by the newspaper’s publisher, Niezależne Wydawnictwo Polskie. The case concerned a photoshopped image of the Chair of ODF’s Supervisory Board on the cover of the weekly depicting him as a Wehrmacht soldier. The judgment is final.
The court thus upheld the first-instance judgment, ruling that Kramek’s personal rights had been violated by Sakiewicz. He must therefore apologise to Bartosz Kramek on the pages of Gazeta Polska, and pay PLN 15,000 compensation in favour of Kramek, PLN 10,000 in favour of the Women’s Rights Centre, plus legal fees.
The case began five years ago, in August 2017, when Gazeta Polska hit the newsstands with a cover photomontage showing the Chair of ODF’s Supervisory Board. Bartosz Kramek’s face had been superimposed onto a Wehrmacht soldier, alongside the headline “New September campaign. We know the plans for the autumn coup”. The case was heard twice by the District Court in Warsaw and twice by the Court of Appeal.
The head of GP argued in court that the cover was satirical. The latter, however, did not share his opinion. “Defamatory, stigmatising criticism with the use of a photograph created for the propaganda purposes of a totalitarian state with reference to the symbolic figure of the Nazi invader, cannot be considered righteous and actually serve the public good. Thus, the regional court correctly concluded that the plaintiff’s personal non-property rights in the form of his business reputation, dignity and good name were violated. Therefore, he lawfully took legal remedies, applying property and non-property methods of such protection,” commented judge Edyta Jefimko.
“I am, of course, pleased with this verdict, although I believe that the financial penalty should have been much higher. Tomasz Sakiewicz is a recidivist libeller who has been reverting to slander and lies for years for public money. He is a model party functionary pretending to be a free-minded journalist. It would be hard to find a greater mix-up of concepts and greater cynicism,” adds Bartosz Kramek in an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza.
The lawsuit win against Sakiewicz is the third in recent weeks when the courts have ruled in our favour. We have already written about the non-final rulings on violations of personal rights by PiS MEP Dominik Tarczyński and Deputy Interior Minister and Deputy Coordinator of Special Services Maciej Wąsik. These politicians are to apologise to the Foundation, Bartosz Kramek and Lyudmyla Kozlovska for untrue statements made about them.
The above-mentioned lawsuits were three of 20 lawsuits filed against Law and Justice politicians (Krystyna Pawłowicz, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Witold Waszczykowski, Joachim Brudziński, Ryszard Czarnecki, Dominik Tarczyński, Patryk Jaki, Maciej Wąsik and Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk) and the propaganda centres supporting them (e.g., TVP, the Sieci weekly, and Gazeta Polska, among others).
In the disputes with Tomasz Sakiewicz, we are represented by attorneys Maciej Lach and Dawid Biernat of the Lach Janas Biernat law firm.
Cover photo: gazeta.pl
- Joachim Brudziński loses libel case over ‘money laundering’ claim (August 3, 2023)
- Polish state broadcaster TVP forced to apologise and pay damages following court verdict (July 4, 2023)
- Marcin Rey’s apology. Court settlement concludes the dispute (March 11, 2023)
- ODF wins court case against Dominik Tarczyński MEP (August 15, 2022)
- Maciej Wąsik loses libel case over Foundation’s ‘ties to Russia’ claim. Court ordered apologies (August 5, 2022)
- TVP complies with court order in ODF case (February 2, 2021)
- Polish Radio executes interim measure re. ODF (May 6, 2020)
- 20 lawsuits filed against Law and Justice. Interim measure against TVP (October 11, 2019)
- “Gazeta Polska” and Tomasz Sakiewicz lose in court to the Open Dialogue Foundation (April 25, 2019)
In the media:
- OKO.press: MEP Tarczynski and editor-in-chief of “Gazeta Polska”, Sakiewicz, lost their lawsuits against ODF. They must apologise (August 22, 2022)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: Libellers must apologise and pay for the cover story (August 12, 2022)
- Onet: Sakiewicz must apologise for the cover of “Gazeta Polska” (August 11, 2022)
- Dziennik: Sakiewicz must apologise for the cover of “Gazeta Polska”. There’s a court decision (August 11, 2022)