Media Defence is providing emergency support to Grzegorz Rzeczkowski, an investigative journalist with Poland’s prominent political weekly Polityka. Rzeczkowski is facing multiple lawsuits as a result of his reporting into the “wiretapping scandal”, which rocked Polish politics in 2014.
The case typifies the legal harassment of the independent media in Poland through vexatious litigation. This type of litigation is designed to drain resources and chill critical reporting. Such lawsuits have increased significantly since Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power in 2015. PiS officials and their allies have systematically pursued critical media outlets with expensive and time-consuming litigation. Moreover, journalists have also been targeted in their personal capacity – many facing heavy fines, bans from journalism, and even custodial sentences as a result of baseless legal claims.
These tactics are not restricted to Poland alone, but are increasingly applied across Europe, and further afield. They represent a serious threat to freedom of expression and press freedom. Media Defence is committed to providing support to ensure journalists are able to resist these abusive tactics.
If you are a journalist or citizen journalist in need of support, please click here.
Kelly Duda originally wrote this piece for Index on Censorship. Kelly Duda is an activist and producer and director of the documentary “Factor 8: The Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal”. Duda travelled to Italy to offer his services as a prosecution witness in a trial about blood contamination. As a result, he now faces charges himself. […]
UK violated journalist’s free speech rights by arresting, charging her under Protection from Harassment Act
The ECtHR has found that the UK violated the right to freedom of expression of a journalist when she was arrested and prosecuted. Rita Pal was charged under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, after she published a news article online and posted several Tweets about an individual who subsequently complained to the police. She […]
In a worrying expansion of the application of the ‘right to be forgotten’ the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) has decided that a journalist may be held liable for failing or refusing to de-index information published on the Internet. In Biancardi v Italy the applicant, an editor of a newspaper, complained that he […]