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    Freedom of Speech: publisher Ringer Axel Springer sues Polish Journalist for mentioning Nazi past of the company's founders

    The court case by Ringier Axel Springer against journalist Witold Gadowski has had its third hearing. The German-Swiss group is demanding an apology from Gadowski for statements in which the journalist spoke about the connections between Springer and its founder and Hitler’s regime during the Third Reich. According to Gadowski, the whole issue is about limiting freedom of speech in Poland.


    Witold Gadowski was accused by the company Ringier Axel Springer Polska of violating personal rights, which occurred in one of the journalist’s columns, in which he described the associations of the Axel Springer concern and its founder with the Nazi Third Reich. The publisher of Fact and Newsweek, among others, demands an apology and payment of damages of  PLN 50,000 from the journalist. The court has not yet set a date for the next hearing in this case.

    The third hearing in the District Court in Warsaw saw a large group of people appear to support Witold Gadowski appeared, but the witness, for Ringier Axel Springer Polska did not appear at the hearing because of a canceled flight to Warsaw. In the absence of the witness, the judge adjourned the proceedings, giving both parties time to reach a settlement, in the light of which neither party would have to withdraw from its position.


    JACEK TYSZKA, JUDGE OF THE WARSAW DISTRICT COURT: – “In fact, in this matter, it appears the facts are basically known to you. Now it is just a matter of how these facts can be interpreted, and what can be said and what cannot be said against these facts. In the opinion of the court, in such cases it is best for readers to judge, and not for the court, to outline the issues of freedom of speech.”


    Witold Gadowski made a statement in which he emphasized that he would not give up on stating historical truth. The journalist said that he saw no reason to apologize to the Polish branch of the German-Swiss concert Ringier Axel Springer, because his words were not addressed to it.


    WITOLD GADOWSKI, JOURNALIST WITNESS, : -“Historical truth is not subject to change, the conclusions of historical truth are that German murderers committed crimes in Poland – you cannot remain silent, you have to talk about them. The Axel Springer concern employed former Nazis, Axel Springer was active in journalism during the Third Reich. This whole thing is unnecessary, it only serves to close mouths and repress freedom of speech. If Ringier Axel Springer doesn’t learn that there is freedom in Poland, then it will last. This is a completely unnecessary matter, because I will not change my mind at all, there is no such possibility, even if I am convicted. But I don’t think I will be convicted, because the judge speaks wisely.”





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