Polish authorities are fighting journalists revealing neo-fascists

On Friday evening, Polish Internal Security Agency entered the home of the TVN tv operator, Piotr Wacowski, who worked on the story unmasking the neo-Nazis in Poland. Polish services and politicians take part in a campaign against journalists, and they do not interfere with the activities of ex-priest and nationalist Jacek Miedlar and even walking in one march on Polish Independence Day with the neo-fascists from Italian Forza Nuova.

US Ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, said on Wednesday in Polish parliament: “You should be aware that one thing that the American Congress agrees with both democrats and Republicans is freedom of the press. And I can not express it more clearly. At the moment, the US congress is very positive towards Poland. And Democrats and Republicans are very happy to help Poland because they know that Poland is a very important ally. But, it can all be destroyed when it comes to freedom of the press, everything here is black and white in the USA. (…) We are used in the US that the press is brutal, (…) but we do not interfere. We do not like this, but we do not interfere. Therefore, when it comes to freedom of the press, I will not help you. Congress will not tolerate such things. (…) I can do a lot, but in the case of freedom of the press, please do not call me.”

These are important words. Very obvious but important, because today in Poland the pressures on journalists is huge and we should defend ourselves against it.

TVN showed that neo-Nazi groups operate in our country, organize their events, concerts and basically no one bothers them. Polish politicians and the justice system – instead of focusing on solving this problem – decided to hurt the messenger who brought this message, which means journalists.

Yesterday the Internal Security Agency entered Wacowski’s house. It is a clear signal that by revealing Polish pathologies – especially those that are not convenient for politicians – one can be punished for this. It is interesting that these services were not disturbed by the neo-fascists from Forza Nuova on the streets of Warsaw on November 11, walking in the same march as the most important Polish politicians. Our prosecutor’s office does not see anything wrong with Jacek Międlar’s publications, and when he called for the harvest on the Jews, we had to accept this, because that is “the freedom of speech.”

Freedom of the speech is not synonymous with the freedom to spread hatred. As journalists, we have a duty to talk about everything, especially about what is difficult, painful, or even pathological. Without this, there would be no journalism.

For such a pathological action I consider a campaign against journalists for revealing the case of Polish neo-Nazis. Instead of punishing criminals who break the law, Polish authorities try to intimidate those who reveal it. This action is against the freedom of the media. Neither the current authorities nor their subordinate services will be credible until they start dealing with real threats, such as growing nationalism, the activities of neo-Nazi groups, and xenophobia. I am waiting for such a move, because I do not see at this moment even a shadow of willingness to take such actions.

About the Author
Katarzyna Markusz is a journalist and Editor-in-Chief of Jewish.pl and a correspondent of JTA. She is doing research about Jewish life in Sokolow-Podlaski, Poland before and during the WWII.
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