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    Foreign broadcaster sues independent Polish publisher for alleged lies

    TVN Television sued the company Słowo Niezależne, i.e. the publisher of the website Niezalezna.pl, and its editor-in-chief Grzegorz Wierzchołowski for… quoting the words of Tomasz Sakiewicz on TVP Info. Sakiewicz said at the time, among other things: “They (TVN – ed.) are telling bare-faced lies. […] TVN said that explosions, assassination have been ruled out. […] TVN gives information that protects Putin regarding the Smolensk catastrophe. He has been helping to hide the truth about Smolensk from the very beginning.”

    TVN is demanding PLN 100,000 for the TVN Foundation and an order to cease disseminating, in any way and in any form, information that “TVN lies”, “TVN gives information that protects Putin”, “TVN hides the truth about the Smolensk catastrophe”, “TVN publications are manipulated”.

    In 2011. TVN24 prepared a material describing something that did not happen – i.e. that before the flight to Smolensk at the military Okęcie there was an argument between the commander of the plane crew Capt Arkadiusz Protasiuk and the commander of the Air Force Gen Andrzej Błasik.

    In 2016, TVN prepared material from the premiere of the film Smolensk. In the report, a character, introduced as Artur Wosztyl, the pilot of Jaka-40, speaks out. Only that …. it was not Artur Wosztyl, but Witold Rosowski from the Solidarni 2010 association. And there was no mistake because Rosowski accurately introduced himself to the TVN journalist. As Rosowski stated:

    “I hereby express my utmost indignation at the unheard-of manipulation carried out by TVN in connection with the premiere of the film Smolensk. (…) After the screening, at the exit, a journalist who introduced himself as Associated Press – certainly not TVN, which I would never talk to, fearing just such manipulation – asked me whether I believed it was an assassination (…) The journalist asked for my name and I EXACTLY introduced myself to him, very clearly and loudly. There could not have been any mistake.” 

    TVN television can lead to such unimaginable consequences. Yesterday, Słowo Niezależne and Grzegorz Wierzchołowski, editor-in-chief of the Niezalezna.pl portal, received a lawsuit from TVN SA for infringement of personal rights together with a motion to secure claims. What is the latter about? 

    “For an order to cease dissemination in any manner and form, by Respondent 1 [Słowo Niezależne] in particular on the Niezalezna.pl website and by Respondent 2 [Grzegorz Wierzchołowski] in particular on the Niezalezna.pl website, in the daily newspaper “Gazeta Polska Codziennie” and in the magazine “Gazeta Polska” […] of information that:

    • TVN lies
    • TVN provides information which protects Putin
    • TVN conceals the truth about the Smolensk catastrophe
    • TVN publications are manipulated for a period of 1 year”.

    Such a demand is in itself absurd and is a glaring example of contempt for freedom of speech. For if the court were to acknowledge TVN’s rationale, and this TV station immediately afterwards spread any disinformation concerning the sued company, this TV station would have no right to write back, since it would be exposing itself to sanctions.

    Equally bizarre is the content of the lawsuit itself. The company publishing the Niezalezna.pl portal and its editor-in-chief were sued for quoting the words of Tomasz Sakiewicz on TVP Info. Sakiewicz said at the time, among other things: “They are telling bare-faced lies. […] TVN said that explosions, an assassination have been ruled out. […] TVN gives information that protects Putin regarding the Smolensk catastrophe. It helps to hide the truth about Smolensk from the very beginning”. This is about the article “TVN gives information that protects Putin”. 

    It is interesting that, at the same time, TVN is wringing its hands over alleged “attempts to limit journalistic criticism” in Poland – only because a case concerning one of the station’s reports is being conducted by the National Broadcasting Council.

    The Niezalezna.pl portal and the Strefa Wolnego Słowa have repeatedly pointed out to TVN both the disinformation concerning the Smolensk catastrophe and the ‘red’ roots of this TV station. In recent months, Grzegorz Wierzchołowski together with Justyna Błażejowska have published several articles in Gazeta Polska revealing unknown facts about the past of the creators of the ITI company. According to IPN (Institute of National Remembrance – ed.) files, Waldemar Więckowski – the man who registered Jan Wejchert as a secret collaborator of the SB (communist secret police in Poland – ed.) and acted as its officer in charge and supported the establishment of the ITI Foreign Enterprise – graduated from the KGB Higher School in Moscow in the mid-1980s, and later maintained official contacts with KGB officers from the Soviet Army unit in Rembertów. 

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