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    PRL oppositionists against censorship [appeal]

    “In the face of this brutal blow to the foundations of a democratic state, we demand that the owners of TVN, the Discovery corporation, withdraw their censorship activities and, if necessary, instruct TVN employees in freedom of speech and the right to unfettered press criticism,” representatives of the democratic opposition from the communist era (PRL) wrote in a statement. The letter in defence of the Niezależ portal was signed by, among others, Andrzej Gwiazda, Joanna Duda-Gwiazda, Krzysztof Wyszkowski, Ryszard Majdzik, Stanisław Mikołajczak, Adam Macedoński and Adam Borowski.

    At the beginning of December, the editor-in-chief of ‘Gazeta Polska’ and ‘Gazeta Polska Codziennie’ Tomasz Sakiewicz was a guest on TVP Info’s programme. He pointed out lies concerning the Smolensk crash spread by the TVN station. The words were quoted on the Niezależ portal. Last Tuesday, the portal’s editor-in-chief Grzegorz Wierzchołowski and the medium’s journalists received a lawsuit. The claims are to be secured at the same time. 

    It is "for an order to cease dissemination in any manner and form, to Defendant 1 [Słowo Niezależne], in particular on the website Niezależ, and to Defendant 2 [Grzegorz Wierzchołowski], in particular on the website Niezależ, in the daily newspaper ‘Gazeta Polska Codziennie’ and in the magazine ‘Gazeta Polska’ [...] information that TVN lies; TVN provides information that protects Putin; TVN hides the truth about the Smolensk crash; TVN publications are manipulated; for a period of 1 year."

    This would mean that Grzegorz Wierzchołowski and the Niezależ portal would not be allowed to expose the lies of TVN. In addition, the portal would be expected to donate PLN 100,000 to charity.

    Since yesterday, there have been numerous statements expressing outrage, with commentators stressing that this is an attempt to reinstate censorship.

    Oppositionists’ letter

    Among the demands for which Solidarity fought, one of the most important was the restoration of freedom of speech. We also expressed this during the August 1980 strikes and the demands presented to the communists at that time. In a way that is completely obvious and understandable to everyone, we, therefore, feel obliged to uphold freedom of speech in a free democratic Poland. In defence of this fundamental civic freedom, which is the foundation of a state governed by the rule of law, we were prepared, during the communist dictatorship, to risk our health and lives, the safety of our own families, in the hope that this effort and sacrifice will in the future bear fruit in the form of full human rights for all citizens of the Republic of Poland, irrespective of their political views, worldview or religion. We feel obliged by the words of the blessed martyr for freedom Father Jerzy Popiełuszko, whom the junta of Jaruzelski, Kiszczak and Urban murdered and subjected to bestial torture: “We are supposed to speak the truth.”

    We cannot, therefore, remain silent while a brutal attempt to block freedom of expression is being made before our very eyes. This is how we understand a lawsuit in which a television station that for years made its airtime available to Communist criminals such as Jaruzelski and Urban is now demanding a ban on criticising its media materials, in other words, the introduction of censorship. In Communist times, criticism of the Communist media was punishable by dismissal or imprisonment. Today, TVN, which was founded by people from the former regime, is demanding financial penalties for those who factually and honestly point out its manipulations or even lies. In the face of this brutal blow to the foundations of a democratic state, we demand that the owners of TVN, the Discovery corporation, withdraw their censorship activities and, if necessary, instruct TVN employees in freedom of speech and the right to unfettered press criticism.

    We also appeal to the US Ambassador to Poland, who has been so active in matters concerning TVN, to listen to the voice of people who risked their lives demanding freedom of speech in communist times and to draw the attention of the Discovery corporation authorities in the US to the fact that their representatives in Poland are becoming the face of censorship activities, striking at the foundations of democratic civil society. We remember the support that the late Zbigniew Brzezinski gave to our struggle in communist-occupied Poland. We will always hold in our hearts his commitment to the process of our common homeland regaining its freedom. However, there is no true freedom without freedom of expression. We call on the authorities of the TVN station to immediately withdraw their usurper pseudo-legal actions aimed at blocking press criticism. In a democratic state, the courts are not there to suppress freedom of expression, but to resolve disputes impartially.

    Signed by: 

    Andrzej Gwiazda

    Joanna Duda-Gwiazda

    Krzysztof Wyszkowski

    Ryszard Majdzik

    Stanisław Mikołajczak

    Adam Macedoński

    Andrzej Szkaradek

    Adam Borowski 

    Stanisław Brzeźniak

    Krzysztof Bzdyl

    Jan Leszek Franczyk

    Piotr Hlebowicz

    Adam Kalita

    Antoni Lis

    Zdzisław Szczur

    Kazimierz Korabiński

    Ryszard Musiał

    Adam Szostek

    Marek Byrgiel

    Zbigniew Sikorski

    Robert Szczurek

    Tadeusz Jodłowski

    Edwin Klessa

    Andrzej Judek


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