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    High-Profile Trial Begins Over Illegal Alcohol Advertising in Warsaw

    The District Court for Warsaw-Centrum has commenced the trial of 11 individuals charged with the illegal advertising of alcohol. Among the accused are well-known actresses and influencers, such as Joanna O., Olga K., Tatiana M., and Ewa M.-K., highlighting the case’s prominence.

    The remaining defendants, including Jakub N., Maciej M., Aneta T., Adam Sz., Dominika B., Kamil B., Łukasz S., and Małgorzata L., are primarily employees of the companies that commissioned the advertisements. They face fines ranging from 10,000 to 500,000 PLN for their alleged involvement in these illegal activities.

    This case has attracted attention from “Safe Poland for All,” a foundation dedicated to combating alcohol advertising online and in public spaces, which has been allowed to join the proceedings. The foundation’s president, Jan Śpiewak, emphasized their intention to demand that the accused return the profits gained from their illicit actions. Additionally, leveraging the high-profile status of the celebrity defendants, the foundation proposes a unique form of community service: requiring them to share educational content about the harms of alcohol on their platforms, potentially constituting an effective public awareness campaign.

    During the initial court session, defense attorneys requested the case’s dismissal and sought to close the proceedings to the public. However, these motions were denied, allowing the prosecution to present the charges in a transparent setting.

    The allegations stem from the accused’s engagement in advertising alcoholic beverages, including wine and other drinks, on Instagram, in violation of Polish law, which strictly prohibits such activities except for beer advertising. The prosecution has highlighted the vast reach of these illegal advertisements, particularly among young people, in a country where Instagram boasts over 10.7 million registered users as of early 2022.

    As the trial proceeds, with the next hearing scheduled for June 17, the defendants will be given an opportunity to present their explanations.

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