The Council’s standpoint condemning aggression against journalists

17.12.2015
The Constitution of Poland guarantees freedom of speech, understood as the freedom to express one’s opinions and to acquire and disseminate information (Article 54). The National Broadcasting Council has reacted several times to instances of aggression directed at journalists carrying out their professional duties in, among others, the Council’s standpoints of 15 July 2011 and 12 August 2013.
 On 10 December, TVP Info reporter Radomir Wit, while reporting from the seat of the President of Poland in Warsaw on the monthly commemorations of the victims of the Smolensk catastrophe, was attacked in a manner preventing him from providing television coverage. The reporter was verbally insulted, pushed, and his earpiece was ripped off.
 
Aggressive behaviour towards journalists is a serious violation of the fundamental principles of social order, which in democratic states include: freedom of speech, freedom of expression and open access to information.
 
The National Broadcasting Council expresses its opposition to all forms of aggression against journalists providing their unique public service.
 
KRRiT notes with growing concern the statements made by politicians publicly criticizing journalists, calling them agents of propaganda, denying them the right to perform their work and threatening them with dismissal. Attacks on journalists create a “chilling effect” in the media, which could be the first step towards a return to preventive censorship. Such attacks may also be taken as consent to aggressive behaviour towards journalists.
 
The National Broadcasting Council commends the display of professional solidarity among journalists, who have condemned the attack on their colleague from TVP Info. This is a clear, collective signal that, regardless of differences in worldview, public debate ends where violence begins.
 
KRRiT Chairman
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                  Jan Dworak

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