The editorial office of Gazeta Wyborcza firmly objects to the use of police violence against journalists covering the brawl caused by the far right militias on November 11 in Warsaw.
Tomasz Gutry, a 74-year-old photoreporter from “Tygodnik Solidarność” was struck by a rubber bullet in the head, the officer who discharged the weapon was only several meters away.
Renata Kim, a journalist from “Newsweek Polska” received two hits to her kidneys with a police baton, even though she was wearing a bright vest with the word “media” on it.
Dominik Łowicki, a reporter from the video section of “Gazeta Wyborcza” was brutally beaten with a police baton, receiving multiple hits to his legs and back. He was also tear gassed. Right before the assault, he was holding his hands up and shouted ‘media’.
Przemysław Stefaniak, a freelance journalist collaborating among others with “Krytyka Polityczna”, received several blows with a baton.
Adam Tuchliński, a photoreporter from “Newsweek Polska”, was hit on the back and legs.
We demand that the officers responsible for this lawless assault on journalists who were fulfilling their professional duties are held accountable.
We also want to remind that two journalists working for “Gazeta Wyborcza” - Magdalena Kozioł i Joanna Urbańska-Jaworks - were assaulted on Wednesday, October 28th, in Wrocław while they were covering the protests against the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling restricting the abortion law in Poland. The assailant was released pending trial after the prosecutor’s office, politically controlled by the Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro, revoked the arrest request from the court, in an uncharacteristic display of deference to the defendant.
Over the last five years, the government led by the Law and Justice party is sparing no effort to quash freedom of speech in Poland. After a political purge, it took over the public media which has since served as its propaganda tool. The ruling camp is putting constant pressure on private media outlets and routinely alludes to its plans of taking them over. Journalists working for these outlets had to deal with innumerable obstacles and intimidation attempts in their day-to-day work since Law and Justice came to power in 2015. Now, in addition to that, they are facing physical violence.
These acts of aggression cannot be left without a firm response from the journalistic community both in Poland and abroad, as well from international organizations responsible for human rights.
The editorial office of “Gazeta Wyborcza”