CLOSE

Media Defence Files Intervention at Warsaw Court in Defamation Case Brought by Municipality

Media Defence Files Intervention at Warsaw Court in Defamation Case Brought by Municipality

Media Defence has filed an intervention before the Third Division of the Warsaw District Court. The case has been brought by the Podkowa Lesna municipality against an environmental organisation called the Association of Cultural and Landscape Heritage, known as “Dendropolis”. The case concerns a civil defamation lawsuit brought by the municipality. It is in response to the publication and distribution of two leaflets by Dendropolis criticising an architectural project conducted by the municipality. The leaflets claimed that the municipality had violated some technical and legal project requirements, and criticised the project’s damaging environmental impact.

The case raises relevant questions regarding the scope of the right to freedom of expression, its limits in cases of political and public interest speech, and the extent to which state institutions are entitled to protection in that context. Additionally, this case also raises issues related to the protection afforded to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in their role as public watchdogs.

The intervention draws on international standards, with a particular emphasis on UN and Council of Europe standards. It develops three key points:

  • Relevant international standards for the protection of freedom of expression, particularly in the context of matters of public interest.
  • Relevance of NGOs in debates on matters of public interest.
  • Chilling effect that an interference on the public watchdog role of NGOs can have.

 

Poland ranks 62 out of 180 in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index. European institutions such as the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament and the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have referred recently to the excessive use of defamation procedures by powerful people to silence journalists in Poland.

Reporting on environmental issues has become one of the most dangerous jobs in journalism. If you are an environmental journalist or citizen journalist in need of support, please click here.

Recent News

Kenyan Court Declares Journalist Arshad Sharif’s Killing Unlawful

July 8, 2024– In a critical ruling, the High Court of Kenya at Kajiado, has found the killing of prominent Pakistani journalist, Arshad Sharif, unlawful. The Court also condemned the authorities’ failure to carry out a prompt and independent investigation into the killing. Judge Mutuku stated that the authorities played a “blame game” in the […]

Read

Landmark Ruling in Uruguay: Court Dismisses $450k SLAPP Suit Against La Diaria

Leer en español By Edison Lanza and Matías Jackson A recent first instance ruling by a Civil Court in Montevideo (Uruguay) dismissed a damages lawsuit with characteristics of a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) filed against the print and digital media outlet La Diaria. After a civil process that took two years, the landmark […]

Read

Una sentencia ofrece argumentos para desestimar acciones SLAPP en Uruguay

Read in English Por Edison Lanza y Matías Jackson Una reciente sentencia de primera instancia dictada por un Juzgado Letrado en lo Civil de Montevideo (Uruguay) desestimó una demanda de daños y perjuicios con características de un litigio estratégico contra la participación pública (SLAPP por su sigla en inglés) interpuesta contra el medio escrito y […]

Read