Czerska 8/10 Street
Numer KRS: 59944
July 9, 2020 / 13:24
The European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) awarded "Gazeta Wyborcza" 15,000 euros for support in court trials. This is the largest grant awarded to date by an organization that aims to fight for independent journalism and defend against activities that threaten media freedom in countries European Union.
Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) is a mechanism for monitoring and responding to threats against journalists and media workers in EU Member States and candidate countries - led by the ECPMF consortium, responded to an unprecedented number of lawsuits against “Gazeta Wyborcza”, donating 15,000 euros for legal support. This is the largest grant under the program so far.
- Lawsuits and legal threats against "Gazeta Wyborcza" demonstrate once more how the law is abused to intimidate and censor the media. This is why it is so urgent to introduce Anti-SLAPP measures at the European level that would discourage politicians and powerful corporations from filing lawsuits for defamation and protection of personal rights against journalists and the media. The legal support offered by MFRR will contribute to the costs of legal representation for both the outlet and journalists targeted in these actions and will ensure they are afforded the necessary expertise and experience to make their case and defend themselves against these actions that threaten press freedom for everyone in Poland. – announced Flutura Kusari, ECPMF’s Legal Advisor.
Since 2015, over 55 lawsuits have been filed against "Gazeta Wyborcza", including for the alleged infringement of personal rights. They were brought by, inter alia Jarosław Kaczyński, head of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS); state-owned media - Telewizja Polska SA and the state-owned company - KGHM Polska Miedź SA. Each case concerns articles published in the daily or in its online edition, Wyborcza.pl. The articles concerned, inter alia, the re-privatization scandal in Warsaw; quality masks for protection against COVID-19 purchased in China; alleged censorship of a music festival and business relations between the PiS leader and an Austrian businessman in connection with the construction of a skyscraper for a company associated with the ruling party. These proceedings are pending against "Gazeta Wyborcza" itself, the publisher of the newspaper AGORA S.A., the director of Wyborcza.pl, Dorota Goluch, and individual journalists, including Wojciech Czuchnowski, Iwona Szpala-Żak and Agnieszka Kublik.
-In countries such as Poland that have become illiberal democracies independent media offer hope for the survival of civil society. Our articles and journalistic investigations go against the interests of the ruling camp. Currently, "Gazeta Wyborcza"deals with dozens of lawsuits brought by the governing party, state owned companies and politicians belonging to the ruling camp. It is only thanks to the tireless efforts of our lawyers, and the institutions that support us, that we are able to continue our mission and operate as a dynamic, independent media outlet - admits Jerzy Wójcik, "Gazeta Wyborcza" publisher.
According to the ECPMF, numerous proceedings against "Gazeta Wyborcza", known for looking at rulers' hands and informing the public, may have a negative impact on critical journalism in other independent media, which may decide to avoid sensitive topics important to the public interest, so that he does not meet their same fate as one of the largest newspapers in Poland.
The European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) is a non-profit organization founded in Leipzig, Germany in 2015. It operates on the basis of the European Charter of Press Freedom and the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. More information: https://www.ecpmf.eu/
Media Freedom Rapid Response is a Europe-wide mechanism that tracks, monitors and responds to violations of the freedom of speech and media in EU member states and candidate countries. The project provides legal and practical support, public support and information to protect journalists and media professionals. MFRR operates through a consortium led by, among others European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and is co-financed by the European Commission.