Monday, November 05, 2007

Reporters Without Borders call on Poland to change laws hampering journalism

Reporters Without Borders, an international organization dedicated to the freedom of press has called on Poland to change its laws which - as they say - criminalize journalism. According to the regulations, journalists can be imprisoned for up to 2 years for libel.

The appeal comes in the wake of a Polish court's decision to detain the editor-in-chief of the right wing Gazeta Polska weekly Tomasz Sakiewicz and journalist Katarzyna Hejke of the same newspaper for 48 hours to make sure that they present themselves before court at a trial on December 14th.

Sakiewicz and Hejke have been sued by the major liberal TVN television station for an article exposing the communist past of an important TVN official Milan Subotic. The television claims the article hurt their reputation.

The arrest of two journalists on the night before December 13th is received as symbolic, as this is the anniversary of the imposition of martial law by the communist regime in Poland 26 years ago, when thousands of opposition activists were taken in jail.

A rally is planned in Warsaw to express solidarity with the detained journalists and a group of mostly right-wing journalists have signed a letter of support to their colleagues.