The Polish National Bank (NBP) has demanded "self-censorship” from Wyborcza. It wants to gag five journalists. The bank has demanded the removal of seven texts from Wyborcza and two from Newsweek .
It wants them removed from the paper editions – a curious and unfeasible thing to ask – as well as from the online editions. The publications describe NBP head Adam Glapiński's links with the corruption scandal in the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF).
Even if PiS takes over our editorial offices, drives out journalists and replaces them with its stooges, the KNF scandal will not disappear, and the accused former chairman of this institution "Marek Ch.” will not become a professional and a patriot of impeccable character.
Glapiński's actions, however, constitute censorship, which is forbidden by the Polish constitution. It is an element of a strategy of media harassment.
Ever since PiS introduced its "good change", Wyborcza has been flooded with lawsuits
from PiS, Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro and the SKOK credit unions run by Senator Grzegorz Bierecki. We were recently ordered by a court judgement to apologise for the words: "That is not how a democratic state works, it is how a mafia state works,” which is a flagrant violation of the press’s right to criticism. We trust our view will be upheld by the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
This is not the end of it.
The PiS authorities are boycotting Wyborcza. Although the public administration is obliged to provide information, it either refuses to do so, remains silent, prevaricates or gives evasive answers.
It is infringing citizens' right to information, yours, the readers’ right, since it is on your behalf that we ask for this information.
PiS has changed public media into national media. Almost three hundred journalists were forced to leave or dismissed. Turning TVP and Polskie Radio into PiS propaganda tools is not, however, enough for the authoritarians in power. There has to be a single message and it should be written in PiS headquarters on Nowogrodzka Street in Warsaw.
PiS has realised that it is impossible to govern like Viktor Orbán or to win like Orbán, if, like Orbán, one does not control the media. After all, had it not been for the "German” Onet, nobody would have heard about the "Morawiecki tapes". Were it not for Gazeta Wyborcza, we would not know about the KNF scandal, and the Polish neo-Nazis would never have been exposed but for TVN.
The Hungarian Prime Minister allowed his oligarchs to buy up the free media. He has now created a state-owned media consortium with only one message – Orbán’s.
PiS is heading towards this "ideal". For three years, it has been threatening to introduce a law on so called "repolonization" and deconcentration of the mass media.
Free media outlets are denied government advertisements and notices, which go to pro-government entities. The distribution of the independent press is hindered, while the shelves groan under the offerings of government media. PiS has stopped state institutions subscribing to Wyborcza. If you do not give in voluntarily – as in the case of Polsat, which has been tamed – PiS pulls out a stick. The regulator, KRRiT, tried to impose a severe financial penalty on TVN last year, and recently intimidated the station and its cameraman Piotr Wacowski, charging him with propagating of fascism. Now the police have been set on Newsweek journalist, Wojciech Cieśla following a complaint of judge Mariusz Muszyński.
The wave of hate that engulfed US ambassador Georgette Mosbacher when she demanded media freedom in Poland showed a cultural divide between how freedom of speech is perceived in the US, even under the rule of Donald Trump, and how it is understood in Poland.
This is a testing time for journalists from many Polish media who love their profession – it is a time to fight for what is the essence of our work. Truth. And independence.
We want to assure our readers that we shall not be intimidated by blackmail.
We will uncover what those in power would like to keep hidden from you. We will not be silenced.
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