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As the most influential and respected Polish press outlet, Gazeta Wyborcza has been at the forefront of keeping Polish public opinion informed about the Law and Justice party's authoritarian turn and has been instrumental to bringing the potentially nefarious consequences of the ruling camp’s action to the public eye.
In return, the outlet has been a target of the government’s systematic legal and financial harassment - be it through strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) or a de facto embargo on obtaining public procurement and state-owned enterprises’ ads. Gazeta Wyborcza is a symbol of independent, democratic and pluralistic Poland for the great majority of those who oppose the current government's actions, a fact well reflected in its impressive number of subscribers.
Over the last three decades, Gazeta Wyborcza became a veritable institution of civic life. It is within this context that we want to bring the Agora’s board of directors’ attention to the warning spelled out by Timothy Snyder in his pamphlet "On Tyranny". His second lesson explicitly calls all democratically-oriented citizens to "defend the institutions", since "it is the institutions that help us maintain decency. They too need our help… the intention of revolutionaries can sometimes be to destroy all institutions at once. Such was the case of the Bolsheviks. In other times, these institutions are being hollowed out, deprived of their vitality and original purpose, becoming a mere shadow of their former glory. Through this, they serve to enforce, rather than challenge, the new order. The Nazis called this the Gleichschaltung.
All this makes us particularly concerned about the current actions undertaken by the board of directors, which are difficult to understand as anything other than efforts to weaken the editorial independence of Gazeta Wyborcza, which is already operating under extremely difficult external circumstances. We appeal to all people and institutions that are in any capacity to influence the current turn of events to take initiative aimed at preserving the ability of Gazeta Wyborcza editors to continually fulfil their worthy and noble mission despite the hostile political and economic climate surrounding them.
Representing the Institute of Public Affairs:
Prof. Monika Płatek, Chair of the Program Board
Prof. Mirosław Wyrzykowski, Chair of the Foundation Board
Dr Jacek Kucharczyk, President of the Executive Board
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.
We decided to make our service available to everyone free of charge in order to provide access to high quality journalism for expats and English speakers interested in Polish affairs.
The access to information should be equal for all.
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