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On 2 March 2021, Poland’s Prosecutor-General (who also happens to be the Minister of Justice), Zbigniew Ziobro, filed a lawsuit against Adam Michnik, the editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza.
The article in question titled “Pensja Ziobry poza prawem” (“The salary of Ziobro is against the law”) was published on 2 March 2020 in the paper edition of Gazeta Wyborcza and on wyborcza.pl. It was written by an investigative journalist of Gazeta Wyborcza, Wojciech Czuchnowski and the law correspondent, Ewa Ivanova. In the article, journalists stated that the fact that Ziobro combined the positions of the Prosecutor General, where his salary supplement is 200 000 PLN (50 000 euros), and that of a Member of Parliament is unconstitutional: “200 tys. złotych prokuratorskiego dodatku dostał w ciągu trzech lat Zbigniew Ziobro, choć konstytucja zabrania, by poseł był również prokuratorem. Ale minister sprawiedliwości obszedł tą zasadę” (“200 thousand PLN were received by Zbigniew Ziobro as the prosecutor's supplementary salary within the last three years, despite the fact that the constitution prohibits Members of Parliament from being prosecutors at the same time. But the Minister of Justice has circumvented this rule”).
In his lawsuit, Ziobro claims that the constitutional ban refers only to the common prosecutors and not to the Minister of Justice who performs the function of the Prosecutor-General. Gazeta Wyborcza maintains that the article was accurate.
Moreover, based on the press law, Ziobro requested the rectification of the aforementioned article and the reimbursement of the costs of legal proceedings. The case will be decided by the Civil Department of the District Court in Warsaw. The date of the hearing is not yet known.
The case is one of the 60 civil and criminal cases against Gazeta Wyborcza, initiated by politicians of the ruling party - Law and Justice (PiS), different ministries, party leader Jarosław Kaczyński, state-owned companies, the public broadcaster TVP, and business people with close ties to the government.
Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about Polish politics and society, keeping a critical eye on the ruling camp’s persistent assault on democratic values and the rule of law; the growing cultural tension between religious fundamentalism and human rights; and the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Our journalists are on the front lines in 25 Polish cities, reporting from the streets, hospitals, and courtrooms about issues that move public opinion.
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