Follow the big issues that shape Polish politics and society by signing up to our weekly newsletter "News from Poland: Democracy at Stake". It allows you to stay up to speed on developments concerning the ongoing assault on democratic institutions, rule of law, and human rights in Poland.
The charges concern an investigation conducted by the police in Zakopane. It concerns a protest on November 6 in Zakopane, which Angelika Pitoń reported for "Wyborcza" together with another journalist Monika Waluś. Both of them arranged three interviews at the protest site. - We started talking before the protest formally began. We stood in a circle of five and had masks on our faces. We talked about the scale of violence in Podhale [the region where Zakopane is]", reports Angelika Pitoń, a journalist working at the Cracow branch of "Gazeta Wyborcza".
Then two police officers approached them, who asked the journalists and their interlocutors for their IDs. The reason for the police intervention was an alleged violation of social distancing rules. Both Pitoń and Waluś explained that they were journalists and presented their press IDs.
After several days, the police summoned Angelika Pitoń for questioning.
It took place on Tuesday, in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. The journalist of "Wyborcza" was presented with two charges. - I am accused of using indecent words and for walking on the street without a mask. The charges are absurd - Pitoń argues.
- First, I had my mouth and nose covered. I also asked to whom did I supposedly addressed these indecent words, but the police officer responded that he did not know. It is also quite odd that the officer in Zakopane stopped us because allegedly we did not respect the rules of social distancing, yet my charges refer to entirely different actions.
- comments the journalist.
Using indecent words in public can be punishable by imprisonment, a fine of 1.5 thousand zlotys or a reprobation. When it comes to the charge concerning the absence of a mask, the police refer to Article 54 of the Code of Offences, which stipulates that "anyone who contravenes the regulations on behavior in public places issued under the authority of the law shall be subject to a fine of up to 500 PLN or a reprobation.
The case will now go to court.
On Monday, the police in Warsaw detained photojournalist Agata Grzybowska during a protest in front of the Ministry of National Education. "I was taken to the police station at Wilcza, where I was accused of assaulting a policeman. They tried to dupe me into pleading guilty. I absolutely reject the charges brought against me" - Grzybowska wrote in her statement after she was released pending charges.
Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about the coronavirus pandemic for you.
They are on the front lines in 25 Polish cities. They work on the ground, reporting from hospitals and airports.
We have decided to open online access to our news stories and special guides focused on the issue of public health, for free.
The access to information should be equal for all.
Materiał promocyjny partnera
Materiał promocyjny partnera