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President Duda’s pardon of journalist Jerzy Jachowicz raises concerns about press freedom, highlighting challenges faced by journalists in defamation cases.
In a move sparking debate on journalistic freedom, President Andrzej Duda has exercised his right of pardon for journalist Jerzy Jachowicz. Jachowicz, convicted of defamation against prosecutor Dariusz Korneluk of the Lex Super Omnia prosecutors’ association, had his case brought to the President’s attention by Attorney General Zbigniew Ziobro.
Pardon Amidst Legal Battle
Jachowicz’s conviction under Article 212 of the Penal Code, for defamation via mass media, stemmed from a 2017 article. President Duda’s pardon includes waiving the fine, refraining from publicizing the verdict, and expunging the conviction.
Presidential Rationale and Jachowicz’s Response
The President, citing justice principles and the incident’s incidental nature, justified the pardon, considering Jachowicz’s financial commitments and age. Jachowicz, currently hospitalized after a recent heart attack, welcomed the decision, emphasizing the frequent misunderstanding of journalists’ roles by the courts.
Challenges to Press Freedom
Jachowicz criticized Article 212, calling it a tool “created solely for the needs of the state apparatus.” He argued that courts, often rigid in enforcing administrative rules, hinder journalists’ freedom of speech.