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    Regional court silences journalist in a scandal surrounding president of the Polish Football Association

    The Warsaw court ruled that Piotr Nisztor, an investigative journalist writing for “Gazeta Polska”, is banned from publishing anything for a year concerning the president of the Polish Football Association Zbigniew Boniek and his business relations with Andrzej Placzyński, the head of Sportfive company dealing with television rights for the broadcast of football matches.

    The case of the ruling of the regional court in Warsaw still makes headlines as many journalists describe it as limiting the freedom of speech. Zbigniew Boniek, the president of the Polish Football Association, commented on the matter on social media. 

    “I inform, that in connection with the various publications of Mr Piotr Nisztor, Gazeta Polska daily and Gazeta Polska, I filed lawsuits protecting my good name and to secure my claims for the time of the court proceedings. In the cases against Mr Nisztor and Gazeta Polska, the court several days ago gave me security, in the case against Gazeta Polska the decision has not yet been made. The form of protection is the ban on the editors and author of the publication from spreading precisely described information about me, i.e. the negligence on my part in managing the Association and my alleged connections to the persecutors of pope John Paul II or communist Security Office. The accusations mentioned in the ruling are untrue, manipulated and are not based on any reliable sources. The decisions of the court were fully legal and are only a form of protecting my good name for the time of long, court proceedings”, we can read in his statement.

    According to the editor-in-chief of “Gazeta Polska” weekly, Tomasz Sakiewicz, the ruling of the regional court is a clear form of preventive censorship. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights had already warned against the extensively broad use of this form of prevention before…

    “We see a tendency towards a broader use of this form of prevention. We, as a Foundation, filed a motion to the European Court of Human Rights in this matter and we are waiting for a ruling which could serve as guidelines to other courts, because this protection influences many of journalists of various media”, stated Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska from the foundation.   

    Piotr Nisztor received a one-year ban from publishing anything about Zbigniew Boniek. The journalist already yesterday filed a motion to dismiss the court’s decision. In the meantime, the editorial office of “Gazeta Polska” intends to continue publishing articles regarding the head of the Polish Football Association. 







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